Note: Philipp’s final performance as Billy in the Village Theatre (Issaquah & Everett, WA) production of Billy Elliot The Musical (BETM) was at the Everett Performing Arts Center on July 30, 2016.
Debut: May 11, 2016 (Village Theatre – Issaquah, WA)
Total Performances as Billy: 28 (No partial shows)
Philipp Mergener was 13-years-old when he debuted in the title role in the Village Theatre production of Billy Elliot The Musical. He is from Seattle, Washington and is a 7th Grader at The Evergreen School.
Like fellow Village Theatre Billy Vincent Bennett, Philipp studies dance at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, beginning at the age of three.
In 2012, Philipp danced the role of Toy Theatre Boy in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker. He acted in Handel’s Opera Il pastor fido at the Amherst Early Music Festival in July of 2015.
While his dance training has been primarily ballet, he’s had to branch out into other dance forms for the role of Billy. In fact, he didn’t begin learning how to tap dance (another skill a Billy must have) until about a half year before he started rehearsals for BETM, and he relates learning the steps has been something of a challenge for him.
About the rehearsal process for BETM, while he says they’ve been hard work, he’s also really enjoyed them. Says Philipp, referring to the other Billys, “It’s been really fun because we’ve become really close friends through the process”. When asked what particular skill he’s been learning has been most enjoyed, Philipp replied “Tap, definitely. I’ve really liked watching tap, but I’ve never taken it before this. It was really fun to me to dive into it and now I’m practicing advanced steps.”
When Philipp made his debut as Billy, he became the 131st actor to play the role worldwide.
Credit: Photo by Mark Kitaoka
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