Sunday, December 15, 2019
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    Meet Billy Elliot: Jillis Roshanali

    Note: Jillis’s final show as Billy in the Netherlands production of the show was on 28-Feb-2015 in The Hague.

    Debut: 11-Nov-2014 (The Netherlands)

    Total Performances: 20  (No partial shows)

    Jillis ThumbThe oldest of the first group of Billys for the Netherlands production, Jillis is 15 years old from Leiden, which is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. The municipality of Leiden has a population of about 120,000.

    Jillis trained at the Leidse Balletschool & Theatre and later at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

    Jillis got his first taste of musical theatre at a special school created for the first international production of Disney’s Tarzan: The Musical, which was presented in 2007-2009 at the same theatre where Billy Elliot will be held.  The Tarzan School was formed to train potential child cast members to audition for the musical. Unfortunately, Jillis was unsuccessful in his bid to win the role of Young Tarzan in the show. However, he can be seen in this video clip, practicing at the school for an audition for the role: 

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    Credit: Video by tijnie41

    Jillis Roshanali was selected for the children’s chorus in the 2009-2010 Dutch production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

    In 2012 Jillis appeared in a Dutch TV series called We Are Friends (Wij Zijn Vrienden) about friendships. In the show, Jillis and his friend Cherique talk about what it’s like to study at the Royal Conservatory and about dancing in general. Here’s a video clip from the show: 

    Credit: Video by MartijntjeTijni Hubers

    When asked about what it’s been like to train and rehearse for the show in the days leading up to his debut, Jillis says, “It seems super-amazing to play Billy, to hang on the wire for Dream Ballet and to experience that euphoric feeling.”

    He says he’s a little bit like the character of Billy who “often dances when he is angry, but I dance the entire day through. Even when I go to the kitchen, I dance my way there.”

    Jillis got to perform in front of a much larger audience than the members of his household when he debuted on November 11, 2014 at the AFAS Circus Theater.  He was the third of the originating Dutch six Billys to do so and the 79th in the world.

    Here’s a video from the official BETMNL website.  It’s an introduction to Jillis and it’s in Dutch with English subtitles.

    Credit: Video by Billy Elliot Holland

    For more information on Jillis visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum, BETMNL Website, BETMNL Facebook Page

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