Meet Billy Elliot: Fox Jackson-Keen

Note: Fox’s final performance as Billy in London was March 27, 2010

Debut: June 23, 2008 (London)

Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy, though rumored to be 205) (Recorded data: 182.5 — includes 3 partial shows credited @ .5 ea)

Fox Jackson Keen Thumb2At 14 years old, Fox Jackson-Keen was the senior Billy on the London stage when he performed the role for the last time. He had been in the role for 20 months and had performed as Billy more than 200 times, since making his debut on June 23, 2008. He was the 16th actor to play the role at the Victoria Palace Theatre but the first actually from London (his West End predecessors all coming from other parts of the British Isles or the United States). Fox is from Hornsey, in the north of London.

His unusal first name stems from the fact that his parents were huge X-Files fans when he was born on May 14, 1995. Gymastics was an early love and he has competed at the national level in several championship competitions in that sport. Fox has also appeared as an actor on TV and in both TV and print advertisements. Fox’s acting credits include a role in the 2006 British TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s novel “Hogfather”. Here’s a short video clip of his performance in that show:

Credit: Video by MusicalTalents

But like all the boys who play Billy, it was his love of dancing that was closest to his heart. At the age of nine, he started break-dancing and soon after expanded to tap and ballet. When he first tried out for Billy Elliot the Musical, while his dance and gymnastic skills were appreciated by the casting people, they told him he was too small and to reapply in a few years. Two years later, he did just that. And this time he was accepted into the “Billy School” where he spent a year in training and rehearsals before making his debut.

In an interview from the “We Are Billy Elliot” series of videos on the London show’s official website, Fox gives some insights into how he got the role and what it’s like for him to play Billy:

Credit: Video by WestEndTheatre

What is probably unknown to the average theater-goer is that when you see a performance of Billy Elliot the Musical it can be a very different experience from what the group of people sitting in those same seats saw in the performance offered the day before. That’s because while the core of show is the same for every performance, the show is somewhat customized for each boy who plays Billy, based on his vocal range and strengths as a dancer.

That Fox’s strengths are street dancing and gymnastics is apparent in his version of the musical’s signature song, “Electricity”, shown in this video:

Credit: Video by Kevin Jackson

Fox’s last performance as Billy was on March 27, 2010 at the 7:30pm show. It’s a pretty safe bet that when he left the Victoria Palace Theatre stage for the last time on that night, it surely won’t be the last we hear of this talented young performer.

Fox Dances In The Finale

For more information on Fox Jackson-Keen visit:

Wikipedia, Billy Elliot the Forum

 

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