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On a recent gorgeous Friday night in Manhattan, Mr. Alvarez from rehearsing for his role as Bernardo in the coming Steven Spielberg production of “West Side Story.”Once again on the verge of showbiz hugeness, Mr.Alvarez seemed serene about it all, in an intentionally Buddhist sense.They moved back to the West Coast, and he has not looked back. Alvarez was heading into his sophomore year at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland when the casting director for “West Side Story” found him.
By the time “Billy Elliot” closed on Broadway in 2012, the original trio had long scattered. It’s an odd exercise, asking what happened to people who are still at an age when most people haven’t happened at all yet.
But no one comes out of the teenage years unchanged, not even Billy Elliot. Kowalik fresh from teaching a studio of young tap dancers, Mr.
Now he is all easy smiles and Eastern philosophy.“Whatever happens,” he said, “is going to happen.”“Are you saying the future is predetermined? Though the youngest of the three, he was a veteran Billy before the musical even opened in New York, having played the role in London, and he stayed on Broadway the longest.
Back to dance school afterward, then high school, then Princeton University, where he majored in philosophy and earned a certificate in dance.
From left, David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik accepted the award for best performance by a leading actor in a musical for “Billy Elliot, The Musical” at the 2009 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall; The Billys today. — 11 years ago that I met the Billys Elliot, all of us gathered in the fluorescent delirium of Dave & Buster’s in Times Square.
They ate pizza and drank milkshakes, because that is how old they were, three kids unknown to Broadway at that point, the last boys standing from a nationwide culling of young dancers. Trent Kowalik, 13, Kiril Kulish, 14, and David Alvarez, 13, would shoulder “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” an .5 million Broadway production about an aspiring ballet dancer growing up in English coal country in the Thatcher era.Ten years ago this June, they walked up together onto the Radio City Musical Hall stage to receive the Tony Award for best performance by a leading actor in a musical, the first trio ever to do so.Broadway runs come to an end, as does prepubescence.Since graduation, he has been living at home, unsure exactly where he will end up. But it was a reminder of why he had decided, about a year after a deepening voice had nudged him out of “Billy Elliot,” not to become a professional ballet dancer.He is considering going to work for his father, a land surveyor. He had been on his way to doing that, training at the American Ballet Theater.After two decades of performing before thousands of spectators and teachers and fellow dancers, Mr. It is hard to find much that he is not doing, or has not done, or has no plans to do soon. Kulish saw himself as the Sincere Billy, and this is still a good description. There was a lot to catalog, though not on Broadway: world ballroom dancing competitions, ballet concerts at the Kennedy Center, work at the Geffen Playhouse, shows at resorts in Las Vegas and Puerto Vallarta. Kowalik’s sort of self-analysis, or the kind of soul-searching that Mr. Three years ago, immediately after his debut season in the dance troupe on “Dancing With the Stars,” where he really discovered his love for choreography, when doors seemed to be opening for him everywhere, he learned that he had been dancing for months with fractures in both feet. It also meant wearing medical boots for a whole summer, the longest pause of his career.Kowalik was doing something that no one knew he was doing, and he loved it.“I feel like it’s easier to kind of make your own decisions about what you want when you feel like you don’t have to prove yourself,” he said. He would fully recover (he recalled those months as an opportunity “to get my upper body really strong”).The life-changing call from “West Side Story” was nearly two years in the future.He knew none of this while playing Older Billy, but he did know, by that point, how humbling and unpredictable life could be. But the Billys in Mexico were still young, working as hard as they ever had and elated to have the biggest break of their lives, just as Mr.He is joined in the dance by Older Billy, his vision of the dancer he would become. Alvarez put it, “gone AWOL” so he could figure out who he really was.He would soon leave the production and return to his wanderings in Mexico for some months before going off to college.