Note: Riki Yamashiro’s final show as Billy in the Japanese production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) was in Osaka on November 3, 2017.
Debut: August 20, 2017 (Tokyo, Japan)
Total Performances as Billy: 20 (No partial shows)
Riki Yamashiro was 11 years old (D.O.B = 2-Dec-2005) when he made his debut as Billy Elliot in Tokyo. He lives in Tokyo. Riki’s favourite subjects at school are Arithmetic, PE and English. When he is not dancing and singing, Riki enjoys doing karate.
When Riki first heard about the auditions for BETM in Japan he was living with his family in Singapore. He had seen the DVD of Billy Elliot and was so touched by the story that it gave him goosebumps, so he became a big fan and was desperate to audition for the show in Japan. Riki begged his parents to let him travel to Japan for the auditions, and eventually they gave in.
Riki’s determination to let his parents bring him to Japan paid off as he was selected as one of seven finalists for the role of Billy. Alongside the other hopefuls he underwent months of training in ballet, tap, jazz and acrobatics, before their final audition. In December 2016 Japan’s original four Billys were announced and sadly for Riki, he was not of them. But all was not lost, as the creative team had seen potential in Riki, saying that they “had a hunch about his potential and had been impressed by his positive attitude”.
They allowed Riki to keep training with the four Billys to see how he progressed, and also cast him as one of the Tall Boys in the show, so that no matter what happened he would still be involved in the production. Riki progressed well during this training and in May 2017 he received the wonderful news that he would be Japan’s fifth Billy.
After playing Tall Boy for a month Riki debuted as Billy on 20-Aug-2017, making him the 210th actor worldwide to play the role in a professional, regional or community theatre production of the musical.
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