Meet Billy Elliot: Rhett Udsen

    Note: Rhett Udsen’s final performance as Billy in Theatre Calgary’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) in Calgary, Alberta was on May 12, 2019.

    Debut: April 10, 2019 (Calgary, Alberta)

    Total Performances as Billy:  18 (No partial shows) 

    Rhett Udsen was 14 years old when he debuted as Billy in BETM at Theatre Calgary.  In the fall he will be attending Central Memorial High School’s arts program, and he is also a classically trained pianist.

    Rhett’s dance training began when he was just seven years old, and he has been dancing and competing ever since then.  He is in his third year of training as a singer and dancer at The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts.  Most recently, since he was cast as Billy, Rhett’s dance training has been at H/W School of Ballet in Calgary.

    Rhett has much experience of performing as a dancer.  He was lucky enough to get the chance to perform in London, England, and he has also performed in two Calgary Stampede Grandstand Shows, on the WEDAY stage, and with the Dave Kelly Live Christmas Show.  BETM will be Rhett’s first time performing at Theatre Calgary.

    The following video shows Rhett talking about playing Billy and also includes some audition footage and the moment he found out he would be Billy:

    Credit: Video by TheatreCalgary

    Since being cast as Billy Rhett has been training with choreographer Yukichi Hattori alongside fellow Billy, Dex Drewitz.  The four weeks leading up to the show opening has been particularly intense with rehearsals eight hours per day, six days per week.  Rhett has found that going through this journey with Dex has made him push himself even more. “We try to keep each other on our toes,” he explains.

    Talking about the role of Billy, Rhett says, “There are many things in Billy’s story that resonate with me.  I’ve been ridiculed a few times for wanting to be a dancer but it’s all worth the reward I get when I’m up there on stage.  It’s such a cool feeling performing for an audience.  It makes me feel so much more alive.”  He goes on to say, “Billy doesn’t care what his father thinks.  He’s going to follow his heart and that’s what Billy’s story has taught me that I must do.”

    Rhett Udsen (centre) practises his ballet under the tutelage of choreographer Yukichi Hattori (left) while fellow Billy, Dex Drewitz (right), looks on.

    Rhett’s debut performance as Billy Elliot on 10-Apr-2019 makes him the 266th actor in the world to play the role in a professional, regional or community theatre production of the musical.

    For more information about Rhett visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum


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