Saturday, July 11, 2020

    Meet Billy Elliot: Kiril Kulish

    Note: Kiril’s Final Performance as Billy on Broadway was on October 3, 2009

    Debut: October 1, 2008 (Broadway)

    Total Performances as Billy: 119.5 (includes 1 partial show credited @.5)

    Kiril Kulish ThumbKiril Kulish is one of the over 1500 boys who initially auditioned for the role of Billy on Broadway. That he was ultimately chosen to be one of the three boys to originate the role was not surprising to his fans.

    By the age of 13, Kiril had already accomplished much in his young life. Born on February 16, 1994 and raised in San Diego (his family originally hailed from the Ukraine), his sister introduced him to dance at the tender age of three years old. He loved it from the start and soon was wowing audiences both in ballet (the youngest member ever admitted to the Junior Company of the San Diego Academy of Ballet winning the Youth America Grand Prix competition) and ballroom dance (US National Champion in the junior division). He is also an extremely gifted concert pianist.

    To get an idea of what the casting people of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) saw in him, here’s a video of the then 12-year-old Kiril, while a student at the San Diego Academy of Ballet,  dancing in the 2007 YAGP.  The number is called Silent Cry:

    Credit: Video by ruclassmax

    Once chosen to Be Billy, there were many long days of training and rehearsals as Kiril and his fellow Billys not only learned the show, but also built up their stamina so there bodies would be able to make it through an almost three hour show, several days a week. In addition to all of that, the boys were expected to make the rounds of the media to promote the opening of the show.

    In the days leading up to his first performance as Billy, Kiril was spotlighted in this introductory video produced by BETM:

    Credit: Video by frankhp11

    Kiril had the distinction of being the Broadway Billy to perform the role in the first preview of the show on October 1, 2008.

    Along with his fellow original Broadway Billys, David Alvarez and Trent Kowalik, Kiril made history when he won the Tony in June of 2009 for Best Actor in a Musical, the first time the statuette had been awarded to three individuals jointly playing the same role.

    The Broadway Billys in Times Square

    Having grown tall and seeing his voice drop over his year as Billy, Kiril’s last performance was on October 3, 2009, just over a year from when he first performed as Billy before a live audience.  He had performed the role on the Imperial Theatre stage 119.5 times.

    While leaving his options open, Kiril returned to California where he continued his education academically and in dance.  He has especially done well in the years since Billy in Ballroom dancing competitions. There’s no doubt we’ll continue to hear lots more from this talented young man!

    For more information about Kiril Kulish visit:

    Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot the Forum 


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