Skip navigation

By Jackie Demaline
Cincinnati Enquirer
June 27, 2010


Joseph Harrington, 11, is about to dance his way onto Broadway in the title role of the giant hit “Billy Elliott,” Elton John’s heart-warming musical about the motherless son of a coal miner who falls in love with ballet.

On leave from Cincinnati’s School for Creative & Performing Arts where he’s a ballet major, Harrington and his mother, Missy Harrington, have left the rest of the family at home in Eastgate while Joseph graduates from a year of “Billy Camp” in New York, where he’s undergoing advanced classes in ballet, acrobatics, strength training and more. He’ll join the cast, sharing the role with two other young actor-dancers, in fall.

Joseph didn’t find “Billy Elliott.” The show found him.

Finding the best young dancers in the world (for companies in London, New York, the U.S. national tour, Toronto, and Seoul) means recruiting the kids early, training them for a year and more – and then auditioning.

“We’ve known about ‘Billy Elliott’ for years,” says Missy Harrington. “Joseph just wasn’t old enough.”

He was originally scouted on the web, from a video at a dance competition, more than three years ago, even before the show opened on Broadway. The first call from “Billy Elliott” went to Joseph’s home dance studio, Just Off Broadway in Clermont County’s Union Township, and he was invited to audition in Chicago.

“At the end of the audition, he was the last kid standing,” Missy Harrington says, but, at 8, too young for the role. But that fit the average timeline of more than two years, from first look to the final decision of which youngsters will make the cut and star in the show.

The musical’s casting directors maintained the relationship, while Joseph danced the role of Michael Darling in Cincinnati Ballet’s “Peter Pan” in 2009, appeared on Broadway in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and in Nashville in “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.”

Last year, Joseph was invited to join ‘Billy Camp,’ where kids prepare for final auditions.

Missy Harrington says she “knew in my gut” that Joseph had a real shot. “We didn’t stay in New York on a whim.”

The arduous role of Billy, as well as his two young sidekicks, is always triple cast. On average, young performers stay in the role of Billy for less than a year – mostly because 12-year-old boys have a habit of growing.

Copyright ©2010


Related Article: Building an Army Of Billy Elliots


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Articles:  Young dancer bound for Broadway                            Building an Army Of Billy Elliots […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: