Note: Maurice Kimball’s final show as Billy in the Evergreen Chorale production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) was on March 17, 2017.
Debut: July 29, 2016 (Lakewood, OH) February 24, 2017 (Evergreen, CO)
Total Performances as Billy to Date: 13 (Lakewood, OH = 3) (Evergreen, CO = 10) (No partial shows)
Maurice Kimball IV was 14 years old (D.O.B. = 16-Jul-2002) when he debuted as Billy in the Beck Center for the Arts production of BETM. Maurice lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada with his family. His parents are Maurice Kimball III, an accomplished Art Director in the TV animation industry, and Michelle Kuebler, PsyD, a Clinical Psychologist. Maurice has two younger brothers – Patrick, who is 10-years-old, and also a dancer, and Jean-Paul, who is just 22-months-old and likes to copy his older brothers. Maurice is homeschooled through Traditional Learning Academy.
Maurice has been dancing from a very young age. When he was just three-years-old he attended a movement class at Le Studio Dance in Pasadena, CA, and he used to stay behind after the class to watch an all male adult ballet group. Talking of this experience, his mother says, “I think he saw what he could aspire to. After that, he just wanted to keep going and do more. Yes, he was and often still is the only boy in ballet class, but he doesn’t think much of it after seeing a ballet class for men at such a young age. He often just wondered where all the other boys were when he was younger.”
When his family moved to Canada, Maurice started dancing at the Cameron Dance Academy, which has become a second home to him. Maurice’s serious classical ballet training began there aged five, taught by Ms. Deborah Cameron and her daughter Miss Kelly Bennis. By the age of nine, Maurice had started competing as a soloist and had expanded his studies to include tap, jazz, musical theatre, and hip hop. He currently studies all of these genres at the Cameron Dance Academy, and has now added modern, contemporary, and acrobatics to his repertoire. Maurice studies ballet under the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus and this is his favourite style of dance – “I like doing all the jumps and turns. It really does feel like I’m flying.”
Maurice has had much success as a competitive dancer. He has won multiple divisional titles, scholarships, and judges’ choice awards. He is also a three time Dance World Cup Canada Gold Medal Soloist in Variety Theatre.
Credit: Photo by Mona D’Amours
Dancing is far from being Maurice’s only skill. He takes acting classes with Cast and Crew Youth Theatre Society, vocal training with Karen McKenzie of Tapestry Music and tumbling training and conditioning through Flip City Gymnastics with Mathew Myer. He even does stunt and flying training, taught by Jason Waugh of Circus Lab, and studies aerial silk with Breanne Lines.
Maurice has some previous theatre experience:
- Wonderland (White King/Proper Authority #1) at the North Fraser Centre
- The Wizard of Oz (Munchkin) at Michael J. Fox Theatre
Maurice first heard about the BETM auditions for the Beck Center production from his grandmother, Patricia, who lives in Kentucky, not too far from Lakewood, OH. The Beck Center was undertaking a national search to find their Billy and Michael. Maurice was cast as Michael and as the Billy understudy, with some scheduled shows as Billy.
Before travelling to Ohio, Maurice eagerly started preparing for the roles of Billy and Michael in Vancouver from March. He memorized the script and worked on the songs with his vocal coach. Maurice also did extra conditioning, gymnastics and fly training. He even researched the history of the miners’ strike, to gain a better understanding of his characters.
When Maurice arrived at the Beck Center for the summer, he dove straight into intense rehearsals for Michael. This was a very busy time for him, as he still had to find time for schoolwork, since the school year in Canada hadn’t yet finished, and keep up his RAD ballet tech studies by Skyping his ballet teachers back home. Maurice even had to fly back to Vancouver for a few days to finish a different show.
In reference to playing Michael, Maurice said, “I like being Michael because he is like the whole message of the show about everyone being an individual. I think it is really important that people just accept people. Michael is a lot of fun. I also think my legs make the dress look good.”
Here is a video showing Maurice as Michael rehearsing Expressing Yourself with Seth Judice, the main Billy for this production. Maurice is wearing a white t-shirt in the video.
Credit: Video by Martin Cespedes
As the Billy understudy, Maurice shadowed and took notes during the primary rehearsal period. He diligently practiced his material on his own and with his vocal coach until it was time for him to work with the Beck Center staff to prepare for his shows as Billy. Maurice said, “I had to be really disciplined about going over scenes and practicing what I watched so I already knew most of it before the rehearsals for the put in tech.”
Maurice talks about how he connects with the character of Billy: “I feel I have a lot in common in a lot of ways with Billy. I know what it’s like to feel like you want to do something and everything is against you. I know what it is like to want to do something and have people tell you no or make fun of you. I also have lost people I love and my great grandmother had Alzheimer’s. Sometimes she said funny things, but it was sad when she forgot about us. Also auditioning for Billy Elliot for me was kind of like Billy auditioning for the Royal Ballet School. I didn’t have an agent or some big huge resume, but all my teachers and my parents believed in me and it all happened and the Beck gave me a chance.”
During his time in Ohio, Maurice met a devoted BETM fan who gave him a list of several upcoming auditions for other productions of the show. He says “When I looked up the Evergreen Chorale and saw their choir on Youtube I couldn’t talk. They are so talented. I knew I had to audition there because I could learn a lot from them.”
So audition he did and, lo and behold, he won the part. This time he would be the primary Billy in the show. Though rehearsals didn’t start until January 2017, Maurice actually began practicing for the role three months prior to his arrival in Colorado. This was partially done in order to prepare him for the increased elevation that comes with performing at roughly 7,000 feet above sea level. He says, “I had some headaches the first couple of days in Colorado, but it wasn’t too bad and everyone in the cast was really understanding about it.”
And what does he think about getting to play Billy a second time? “Playing Billy once is awesome and playing him a second time is beyond awesome. It’s like this badge of honour.”
In the future Maurice hopes to become a dance teacher for children with special needs, perform in musical theatre or own a dinner theatre, as this combines two things he loves – dancing and cooking.
Maurice’s debut performance as Billy Elliot on 29-Jul-2016 made him the 158th actor worldwide to play the role.
For more information about Maurice visit: