Note: Drew’s final North American Tour performance as Billy was in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 18, 2013
Debut: December 15, 2012 (Austin, TX)
Total Performances as Billy: 66 (No partial shows)
Hailing from Clive, IA (a suburb of Des Moines), Drew Minard (D.O.B. 20-Jul-2000) was the 12th boy to play the role of Billy on the North American tour and the 68th actor in the world to play Billy on stage in BETM (see details here).
Like all the Billys, Drew comes from a dance background having begun at the age of three. Early in his training, he studied at the Iowa Ballet Academy in Urbandale, IA. For the past year, he has been coached by Ballet Des Moines artistic director Serkan Usta at the School of Classical Ballet and Dance in West Des Moines.
And like many other young dancers, Drew participated in many dance competitions and has won his share of awards along the way. He has won titles in various Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competitions and, in the spring of 2012, Drew competed as an 11-year-old in New York against dancers from more than 55 countries and was recognized as the best in his age division. He has also won the prestigious Hope Award at the YAPG. Says Usta ““I knew Drew would win something because he is a very talented and natural entertainer, but to win the Hope Award is an amazing achievement. We are all just delighted. Our community should be very proud of how well this young man represented his city.”
Drew is also a young man with a social conscience. After seeing the documentary film Bully, and having been bullied himself, Drew decided that the problem of bullying required kids to not just stand on the sidelines, but to take action. “There is no such thing as an innocent bystander,” he said, as he launched a student-led bullying prevention initiative at West Des Moines’ Crossroads Park Elementary School, which he was attending at the time. “I think the whole world needs to watch this (film), so they can see how bad it can really get.” Here’s a short video he put together to illustrate the problem to his peers:
Former Broadway Billy Alex Ko and Drew are both natives of Iowa and, after Drew competed for and won a dance scholarship sponsored by the scholarship fund created in memory of Alex’s dad (see Aspire Scholarship Program), Alex’s mom Tammie suggested to Billy children’s casting director Nora Brennan that Drew be invited to try out for the role of Billy. He was 10 when he traveled to New York City for that first BETM audition. At the tryout, though Drew danced and sang well, he was too short at just 4 feet 6 inches and was told to wait a while and try again. Two auditions were to follow and he grew another 4″ by that third audition. As the saying goes, “the third time is a charm”, and Drew was offered the role in the touring production of the show.
In October of 2012, Drew and his mom were off again to NYC, this time to begin several intensive weeks of training to prepare him to debut as Billy. There he trained with fellow new Billy Mitchell Tobin. The training consisted of acting, singing, dialect and dance as well as work with a cardio specialist who helps the Billys to build up the stamina they need to be able to perform for the nearly three hour duration of the show. After the core training in NYC, the boys joined the tour at the stop in Omaha, NE (Nov. 27-Dec. 2) to continue the training with the in-house resident director and cast before debuting in Austin, Texas (week of Dec. 11-16).
Earlier in 2012, Drew danced in a VIP Dance competition and finished first in his age group at the Des Moines regionals. Here’s a video of him practicing what turned out to be his winning performance called “Fever”:
http://youtu.be/VD2mh5sYgS8 Many of the principal cast members rotated the publicizing of the show by visiting with media outlets in each new city where it plays and, in March of 2013, Drew and Cullen Titmus (who played his older brother Tony in the show) stopped in to do an interview with Global TV in Edmonton, Alberta:
Credit: Video by Global TV
Drew’s Billy journey came to an end on the final day of the Tour’s existence in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He performed the role for his final time (66 altogether) at the matinee performance on 18-Aug-2013.
Credit: Photo by Amy Boyle
For more information about Drew, visit: