Note: Dean’s Final Performance as Billy in London was November 12, 2011
Debut: November 30, 2009 (London)
Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy) (Recorded data: 191- includes 6 partial shows credited @.5 ea)
The senior Billy when he did his last show in London, Dean-Charles Chapman (D.O.B. = 7-Sep-1997) took an unusual path to the title role in that he played three different roles in the London production — the first actor to do so in any location anywhere Billy Elliot the Musical has played. His love of theater and dance, and his determination to someday play Billy, had finally been rewarded. But his journey to BE Billy started back before the show itself debuted at the Victoria Palace Theatre.
Dean’s trek to the top of the cast board in the lobby of London’s Victoria Palace Theatre began in late 2004. At seven years old, he entered into rehearsals with the original cast of the show, and then played the role of Small Boy from March, 2005 to June, 2006. His idols back then were named James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower — who were originating the role of Billy for the first time anywhere. Those first Billys obviously made quite an impression on the young Dean. At the Stage Door, the night of his last performance as Small Boy, he promised fans that he’d be back. And back he would be.
After leaving the show in the summer of 2006, Dean studied both Drama and Dance at Colin’s Performing Arts School in his hometown of Essex, England. Then, after a two and half year absence, Dean returned to the cast of BETM – West End as Billy’s best friend, Michael, on December 3, 2008. The creative team liked what they saw in Dean’s acting and dance ability as Michael. So, after five months playing Michael, Dean left the show again in May of 2009 to devote himself to the training and rehearsals it would take to become Billy.
The culmination of all his hard work came when he debuted in the lead role on November 30, 2009. In a statement given in the days before his debut, Dean said “I am really excited about my first performance! I am going to dedicate my first performance as Billy to all those who have helped me along the way and Colin’s Performing Arts School where I studied…” Since his debut, Dean has drawn raves from theater goers for his self confident demeanor and his stage presence. Many especially like the fact that he is a “ballet Billy”, something they haven’t seen a lot of lately at the Victoria Palace Theatre. The phrase, “ballet Billy”, means ballet is the primary dance genre he displays in such big show numbers as “Electricity”.
On May 11, 2010, Dean, Jake Pratt (Michael) and a contingent of ballet girls performed a specially choreographed combination of the show’s Finale and Expressing Yourself on Britain’s ITV1 program “This Morning”.
Credit: Video by MrWestendboy
In May of 2011, the BETM company released a new promotional video which features Dean as Billy. It will be used to promote the show in the markets where BETM is being staged.
Credit: Video by the Billy Elliot the Musical Company
On November 12, 2011, Dean played the role for the 191st and final time. In the audience were family, friends and fans, including former Billys Ollie Gardner, Aaron Watson and Scott McKenzie, all of whom came to wish their friend the best as he moves on to his next adventure in the entertainment world.
It’s been a long trek, for sure, since those days when he was part of the original cast of the show, when that small boy of seven sat on the shoulders of the cast member who played his dad. Dean’s unique contributions to the show may never be matched and his mark on the role of Billy has a lasting place in the history of the show.
For more information on Dean-Charles Chapman visit:
Note: The source of some photos in the above profile is the Dean-Charles Chapman – Billy Elliot Appreciation Society (see their link above)