Meet Billy Elliot: Peter Dessert

    Note:  Peter Dessert’s final show as Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) in Lawrence, Kansas, was at the Lawrence Arts Center on March 5, 2017.

    Debut: February 24, 2017 (Lawrence Arts Center, Kansas)

    Total Performances as Billy:  6 (No partial shows) 

    Peter Dessert was 11 years old (D.O.B. =  18-Jan-2006) when he debuted as Billy in the Lawrence Arts Center production of Billy Elliot the Musical. He’s a hometown boy from Lawrence and attends St. John Catholic School there.

    Peter has been dancing since the age of nine and has taken two years each of ballet and tap.  He has also taken instruction in the Jazz dance genre.  Other performance training includes acting (Jeanne Averill) and Musical Theatre Singing & Performance (Rachel Naughtin and Amanda Clark).

    Peter’s resume lists appearances in 14 prior theatrical productions and three dance productions.  Among his favorites, all at the Lawrence Arts Center, are:

    • Willy Wonka (Oompa Loompa)
    • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Jeremy understudy)
    • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Chip)
    • A Kansas Nutcracker (Fritz)
    • The Little Mermaid (Eel)
    Dad (Chad Crenshaw) helps Billy (Peter Dessert) pack in preparation for Billy’s leaving for the Royal Ballet School.

    Peter first found out that the Lawrence Arts Center was going to do BETM from his mom, in the late summer.  He said, “[My mom] told me that she really liked this musical and that I should audition for it, and I said it sounded really good.”

    When asked what he liked about the show, Peter said he likes it because the story is intense, which he considers to be a very good thing.

    He elaborated, “I really like how it shows the actual side of life rather than just doing the happily ever after thing, ’cause I’ve been in a couple other shows that have that.  This really shows what’s going on in a family.  It’s got some heavy stuff, and I think that is interesting.”

    Here’s a video from the summer of 2016.  In it, Peter leads a group of performers at the Lawrence Arts Center summer camp called Create! in a prepared dance routine they learned at the camp.

    Credit: Video by LACPerformingArts

    With his debut, Peter becomes the 189th young actor in the world to bring the role of Billy Elliot to life on a professional, regional or community stage.

    For more information about Peter visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum


    Grandma (Beth Dearinger) and Billy (Peter Dessert) in Grandma’s Song

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