Note: Larsen’s last show as Billy in the LaCrosse Community Theatre production of Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM) at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts was on May 29, 2016.
Debut: May 14, 2016 (Weber Center for the Performing Arts – LaCrosse, WI)
Total Performances as Billy: 5.5 (Includes one partial show credited @.5)
Larsen Birdsong was 14-years-old upon his debut as Billy and is from Onalaska, Wisconsin, where he is a 9th Grader in that community’s high school. He is the youngest of Troy and Shary Birdsong’s three sons. His brothers are Connor and Garrick.
Outside of performing, Larsen’s interests include playing the French horn and violin, and he runs cross country at his high school. He is also very active in competing in the unusual sport of log rolling — an activity avidly pursued by all the males in the Birdsong family including dad Troy who has served as president of the US Log Rolling Association (USLRA). In the picture to the right, Larsen is seen with his first place, under 10 division logrolling award earned at the 2012 Lumberjack World Championship held July 27-29 in Hayward, Wisconsin.
Larsen’s preparations in the performing arts have included taking both ballet and tap lessons at La Crosse Dance Centre where he has worked with Nikki Balsamo, choreographer for the LCT show, and John Divney, who will play the part of older Billy in the show.
For the past three years, Larsen has also taken private voice lessons from Steve Koch, a local church choir director who has taught voice and choral related subjects on the high school and college levels for over 20 years.
Larsen’s previous performance credentials include two musicals at Onalaska High School (Grease & Pippin) and a youth theatre production of Sideways Stories from Wayside School at La Crosse Community Theatre. He has also performed with the OHS Express show choir.
Larsen said he went into the Billy auditions with an open mind, not exactly expecting to get the title role. But the creative team, led by director Greg Parmeter, obviously liked what they saw and Larsen was one of two boys chosen for the role.
And what does he think about playing Billy after weeks of hard work preparing for the strenuous role?
“I’ve really connected with the role of Billy. He started dancing around the same time that I started dancing. We’re both boys who dance, which is sort of a weird thing.”
When Larsen made his debut on May 14, 2016, he became the 137th actor to play the role of Billy worldwide.
*Note: Rehearsal photos in this article by Peter Thomson (La Crosse Tribune photographer)
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