Meet Billy Elliot: Ty Forhan

     Note: Ty’s final North American Tour performance as Billy was in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 17, 2013

    Debuts: May 22, 2011 (Toronto)     November 1, 2011 (North American Tour – St. Louis, MO)  

    Total Performances as Billy: 94.5  [Toronto = 31] [North American Tour = 63.5 (includes 1 partial show credited @.5)]

    Forhan_Ty Thumb2Ty is from Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He made his Billy debut at the Canon Theatre in Toronto on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at the 1:30pm matinee.

    Active in local theatre since the age of five, some of the roles he has played include the lead in Oliver!, JoJo in Seussical the Musical, and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.  He also appeared in the revue Musical Mayhem. He has competed in dance and done a variety of vocal appearances.

    Ty’s performance training has included dance classes at Elite Danceworx in Markham, Ontario, under the guidance of Dawn Rappitt; vocal training with Irene Ilic of Newmarket; and piano with Eugene Burda.

    Ty first auditioned for BETM in the Spring of 2010 after being prompted to do so by both his vocal and dance instructors. In an interview with, Irene Ilic said, “Ty has tremendous energy on stage and he is riveting to watch. His dancing is a wonderful combination of athleticism and grace, which I thought would be perfect for the role.”

    After that initial audition, he was flown to NYC for a second audition over a three day period. Says Ty, “I was excited when they called me back for a second audition. I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the audition but, as it went on, it felt just like dance class.”

    After a time, he finally got the call he’d been waiting for — he’d been selected to play the role. “It was pretty amazing when we got the final call telling me I made it, I was now a Billy,” he said. “I was totally shocked. I sat with my mouth open and was lost for words.”

    After that, his life changed as he left his regular school and his performance classes and began to train for the role of Billy in Toronto.  That meant a just under one hour commute each way twice a day.  On a typical day, he’d leave home each morning at about 7:30 and return home about that same time each evening.  It made for some long days. But he says he loved every minute of the experience, including learning the dance choreography, dialect, acting script, working on a large stage and getting to know his family away from home — the other members of the 50 BETM member cast.

    When asked if he thought he’d be nervous when he finally made his debut, Ty, thinking back to other shows he’s been in, says “When I get on stage, I find I don’t even see the people in the audience.  I kind of just go into my own little world.”

    But he knows this isn’t just any other show.  This is the show that has been labelled the equivalent for boys of what the show Annie is for girls — except many times more demanding.  He knew he’d be expected to carry this show for almost three hours.  But he wasn’t daunted.  This young Canadian lad couldn’t wait to show the world he has what it takes to succeed, that everything he’s done in his short life to prepare to be Billy would now pay off.  “It feels like I’m living my dream,” Ty said.

    When he played his final show in Toronto on September 1, 2011, he had performed as Billy 31 times.  He was then asked to transfer to the North American Tour production and, with the rest of the cast as the Tour production went on hiatus for some re-working, went to NYC to rehearse before the Tour went back on the road.

    When the show re-opened after the hiatus, on November 1, 2011 in St. Louis, Ty was first up in the Billy rotation, performing in the preview that night, as he did five of the first 12 shows there.

    In April of 2012, while the show was in Los Angeles, Ty and cast mate Cameron Clifford (who plays Michael in the show) were interviewed on LA TV station KCBS:


    Credit: Video by PantagesTheatre

    Ty ended up playing the role of Billy 58.5 times on the tour in his first stint with the production (leaving the show after his performance of July 15, 2012) on the tour’s stop in Madison, WI.  He had played Billy a total of 89.5 times between Toronto and the North American Tour productions.  He was asked to rejoin the tour for the Sao Paulo, Brazil visit to fill the void in the Billy rotation left by Noah Parets departure. His final show on August 18, 2013 was the last of five times he performed the role in Brazil and brought his career performance total to 94.5 as Billy.

    Credit: Photo by Kyle Forman

    For more information about Ty Forhan, visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum, Ty’s Facebook Fan Page

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