Meet Billy Elliot: Tyler Lankston

    Note: Tyler’s final show as Billy in the Peoria Players production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) in Peoria, IL, was on May 14, 2017.

    Debut: May 5, 2017 (Peoria, IL)

    Total Performances to Date:  7 (No partial shows) 

    Tyler Lankston was 13 years old when he debuted as Billy in the Peoria Players production of BETM.  He is a 7th grader from Germantown Hills, which is a village in Woodford County, Illinois.  Tyler is an honor student involved with student council, the anti-bullying task force, chorus, band, and speech team.

    Tyler has been dancing since he was just four years old and, for the past five years, he has danced competitively, during which time he has travelled all over the country to perform, train and compete.  He has trained in many different styles of dance over the years, including street, ballet, contemporary, jazz and tap, and has had the opportunity to learn from national choreographers, various professional dancers, and Master Teachers.

    Here is a video of Tyler rehearsing a contemporary dance in the studio, which shows off his dance ability:

    Credit: Video by Melissa Lankston

    Tyler as ‘Mason’ in ‘School of Rock’

    Tyler dances at various local dance studios including Street of Dreams Dance Studio, where he is a member of their dance company.  Throughout his dance career, so far Tyler has won numerous accolades and awards.  To name but a few of these he is a member of  NRG dance Project Prodigy Program, Dance Makers JV Collective, and he won a 24 SEVEN Non-Stop Dancer Scholarship.  He also serves as a Sugar & Bruno Ambassador.

    Tyler also has previous theatrical performing experience, having performed in four other community theatre productions.  One of these shows was the Peoria Players production of School of Rock in October 2016 in which he played ‘Mason’.  He also performed in their annual Christmas revue Home for the Holidays in December 2016.

    The role of Billy Elliot will be the first time that Tyler has played the lead role in a production. A few weeks before the show opened, Tyler appeared on a local TV station, where the co-director of the Peoria production, Erica Franken, gave a short interview about the show before Tyler performed Electricity.

    Here is a video of that interview and performance:

    Credit: Video by WMBD’s Evelyn Wilkerson

    Erica Franken talks very highly of Tyler’s portrayal of Billy Elliot: “His incredible talent and humility breathe life into the character of Billy”.

    When Tyler is not performing he enjoys playing soccer, reading, running and eating ice cream!  He also serves as the President of “Epic Mission: Pay It Forward Illinois Chapter,” a community service project encouraging people to find their passion to volunteer.

    Tyler is thrilled to be playing the role of Billy Elliot and is very thankful to Peoria Players and the BETM directors, Sarah and Erica, for giving him this opportunity.  With his debut performance as Billy on 5-May-2017 Tyler becomes the 194th actor to play the role worldwide in a professional, regional or community theatre production of BETM. 


    Tyler Lankston does the Billy Jump


    For more information about Tyler visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum


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