Note: Marcel’s last show as Billy in The Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) in Kenner, Louisiana, was on January 29, 2017.
Debut: January 13, 2017 (Mainstage Theater, Kenner, LA)
Total Performances as Billy: 13 (No partial shows)
Marcel Cavaliere was 14-years-old (D.O.B. = 14-Aug-2002) when he debuted as Billy Elliot in the BETM production presented by the Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts. He calls New Orleans, Louisiana home, and he is a freshman at The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.
First and foremost, Marcel is a dancer. He has been dancing from the very early age of one year old, having received his earliest training at Blanchard Dance in Chalmette and at Charlene’s Dance in Kenner, where he studied Jazz, Tap and Ballet. He participated in his first dance review before his second birthday.
Like several other boys who have portrayed the title role in BETM around the world, Marcel got involved in dance because his older sisters were, and he used to go with his mom when she took his sisters to dance classes. Says Marcel in an interview in 2012: “I basically started to dance when my mom put my sisters in dancing class, and I would literally stare at them and look at what the class was doing. [The] dancing teacher saw me moving my hips, so she put me into the class. From then on, it was history.”
Most recently his history with dance has continued at Loren Fenerty’s Dance Factory, also in Kenner, where he is a member of the elite Performers Edge competition team. At the Dance Factory, Marcel has studied Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Contemporary and Lyrical. He is also a member of TRIBE dance and the contemporary dance troupe Escape Dance Company.
Over the years Marcel has entered a variety of dance competitions. Some of his accomplishments in those have included:
- Master Dance of America (2013)
- Teen Mr. Dance of Louisiana (2016)
- The 2016 KAR Nationals where he won the Teen Solo Division competition
- 3rd runner-up in the Teen Mr. Dance of America competition
- On the 2016 TV program So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation, Marcel made it through to the final round of auditions
When he was just 12-years-old, Marcel recorded this video, in which he explains in his own words how he got started in dance and about some of his early success in various competitions. The viewer will hear a very confident young man end the video by saying “See you on Broadway!”
Credit: Video by Studio 504
Marcel has been involved in the pre-professional program of the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) and has danced for several years in that organization’s annual holiday production of The Nutcracker. He has also been a member of the The Stingers, a squad of 7- to 12-year-old hip-hop dancers that performs during New Orleans Hornets basketball games.
As far as his previous stage background, Marcel appeared in Rivertown Theaters production of Gypsy in 2013 and a school production of Bye Bye Birdie in 2014.
That experience, he now says “..was really sort of an eye opener. It opened me to a whole new world of performance.” It also exposed him to Kelly Fouchi, the co-founder of Theatre 13, the organization that manages the Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts. Kelly is also the director of this production of BETM and is a very experienced actress and dancer herself. She currently owns Encore Dance Studio in Harahan, LA.
Kelly had seen BETM in New York and was so impressed that as soon as the licensing rights became available, she applied for them to do the show in Kenner. As far as who would play the demanding lead role, she immediately thought of Marcel. Says Kelly, “his face popped into my head. I wonder if this kid could do it?”, she asked herself. Kelly ended up offering Marcel the role after a two hour interview. She stated, “I felt pretty confident after that that he could handle it.”
But BETM will be Marcel’s first lead role. He’s been preparing for it since September, 2016. With all his previous dance training, Marcel quickly got that part of the show mastered. So the singing and acting parts have occupied a lot of his time over his four months of preparation. He has had voice and acting lessons all during that period and has even worked with a linguist to get the unique Geordie accent down. And, during the four months, Kelly Fouchi also worked with Marcel one-on-one as often as their schedules allowed, in addition to rehearsals with the full cast of the show since November.
With regard to Marcel’s goals for the show, he says he wants to add his own creativity to his performance of the character of Billy. “I’m trying to add a couple of different aspects to it. I like to own my own style so it is basically different from the music,” Cavaliere said. Entertaining the audience is also high on the list of his performance objectives. He will begin doing that on 13-Jan-2017 when he debuts as the 178th boy in the world to play the role on stage in a professional, regional or community theatre production of the show.
To get an idea of his dance skills, here’s a video of Marcel performing “Heroes” with his dance partner Vernon Brooks at the KAR National Dance Competition:
Credit: Video by Kelly Fulton
As far as his future beyond Billy Elliot, Marcel hopes to attend college in New York and then have a professional career in dance. Like Billy Elliot, Marcel dreams of a life dancing and says he will do whatever it takes to achieve it.
For more information about Marcel, visit:
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