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Lorton Teen Takes the Role of Billy Elliot

Metropolitan Fine Arts Center’s (MFAC) former student, Ben Cook, 14, of Lorton, is featured in the national tour of the Tony Award -winning musical “Billy Elliot” in the lead role of Billy Elliot. Over the next six months, he will perform in 11 cities nationwide, including Baltimore from Dec. 18-30. Cook is an alumnus of Lorton Station Elementary School in Lorton, where his family still resides. At age 7, Cook began theatre/dance training at Metropolitan Fine Arts Center in Alexandria, and began to regularly audition for professional theatre at 9 years old.

“Ben was a natural performer from the very beginning and we helped hone his skills for dance and singing, creating a platform for him to jumpstart his career,” said Melissa Dobbs, founder and executive director of the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center of Alexandria and Fairfax Station. “We were thrilled to see Ben shine in Billy Elliott, as it’s always exciting to see one of our students perform on a national stage,” said Dobbs.

Cook trained at MFAC for more than two years, before they encouraged him to find a local agent in 2007 and begin auditioning. He moved to New York in 2009 for the Broadway revival of “Ragtime,” performed in the Billy Elliot ensemble for 15 months, and attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City for two-and-a-half years before joining the tour last fall. He is on the road with a guardian and is tutored for school.

Billy Elliot National Tour cities include: Boston, Detroit, Memphis, Buffalo, N.Y., Toledo, Ohio, Saint Paul, Minn., Indianapolis, Omaha, Neb., Austin, Texas and Baltimore.

Metropolitan Fine Arts Center (MFAC) of Alexandria and Fairfax Station is a multi-disciplinary performing arts organization in the Washington, D.C. area that has taught dance, music and theater to more than 10,000 students since its opening in 2001. Founder and executive director, Melissa Dobbs, was classically trained at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., George Mason University and the Royal Academy of Dance in London, where she became a registered teacher. For more information, call 703.-339-0444 or visit www.metrofinearts.com