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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 08/15/2012

Lorton’s Ben Cook, 14, takes starring role in ‘Billy Elliot’ national touring production

Ben Cook, 14, of Lorton now has the title role in the national touring production of the hit musical "Billy Elliot." (Glen Cook)
Ben Cook of Lorton has been dancing and singing in the big time since he was 9 years old and played Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre. He first reached Broadway at 11 as an understudy in “Ragtime,” and he has performed supporting roles in both the Broadway and national touring productions of the musical “Billy Elliot.”

And now, at 14, Cook is “Billy.” He is one of five boys who alternate the starring role of the young English boxer who’s just gotta dance, and sing songs written by Elton John, in a show that will hit 11 cities over the next six months. He had been playing the role of Michael, which won him a Helen Hayes nomination for best supporting actor when the show stopped at the Kennedy Center [he lost to Hugo Weaving in “Uncle Vanya”!], and he became one of the five “Billys” in late June. The show will be in Baltimore at Christmastime.

Ben Cook, 14, assumed the lead role in the touring musical "Billy Elliot” in June 2012. (Glen Cook)
Keith Loria in the Fairfax County Times interviewed Cook, who also played the young Alec Baldwin in an episode of “30 Rock” in 2010. Cook was first discovered as a second grader at Lorton Station Elementary School, dancing at the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center in Fairfax Station.

“It was pretty evident from the moment I first saw him that he had something spectacular,” Melissa Dobbs, Ben’s first teacher at MFAC told Loria. “Not just talented, but amazing.”

Cook said he could “really relate to the character” of Billy Elliot. “The thing I like about ‘Billy’ is that we both have the same kind of passion and dreams, and no matter what, we both try as hard as we can to accomplish what we want to in our lives.”

The rest of this great story is here, and here is a story The Post did on the five touring “Billys” last year when the show was headed for the Kennedy Center.

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 08/15/2012

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