David Alvarez
Alvarez in 2021
David Alvarez-Gonzalez

(1994-05-11) May 11, 1994 (age 29)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation(s)Dancer, actor
Years active2008–present

David Alvarez (born May 11, 1994) is a Canadian dancer and actor, best known for being one of the original Billys in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot the Musical and becoming one of the youngest winners of the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.[1] He trained as a dancer with American Ballet Theatre and plays Bernardo in Steven Spielberg's 2021 film version of West Side Story.

Early life and education

Alvarez was born David Alvarez-Gonzalez in Montreal, Quebec, to Cuban parents. His father, David Alvarez-Carbonell, is a professor of biology and chemistry, while his mother, Yanek, is an actress and director of theater.[2] His first languages were French and Spanish. He moved to San Diego, California, with his family when his father took a job at The Scripps Research Institute.[citation needed]

Alvarez began taking classical ballet more seriously at the California Ballet. In 2005, Alvarez received a full merit scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and his family relocated to New York City.[3] While at ABT, Alvarez danced feature roles in The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center Opera House and The Sleeping Beauty at the Metropolitan Opera House.[citation needed] He continued his ballet training at ABT until 2012.[citation needed]

Acting and dancing career

Billy Elliot

Alvarez in 2012.

Alvarez is one of the three boys originally cast to play Billy in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot the Musical, along with Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish.[4] He needed to study tap, acrobatics, voice and acting for the role and spent July 2007 through March 2008 preparing. Billy Elliot the Musical began performances on October 1, 2008, and Alvarez's first preview performance was on October 2.[5] He played his final performance in the role on January 3, 2010.[6]

Alvarez's portrayal of Billy Elliot was highly praised by the critics, including Ben Brantley[7] and Claudia La Rocco of The New York Times[8] and Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times.[9] He was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly, The View, Sunday Morning on CBS News, The Today Show, Canada AM on CTV, CBC News, Despierta America on Univision, and at the 62nd Tony Awards ceremony.[citation needed]

Jointly with Kulish and Kowalik, Alvarez won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, becoming one of the youngest winners of the award. Billy Elliot was nominated for 15 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won ten.[10]

Alvarez joined the cast of Billy Elliot: El Musical, a Spanish-language production of the musical in Mexico City.[11] He was cast in the role of "Older Billy", which he played from February 10, 2017, to June 11, 2017.[12][13]

Later work

Alvarez left theater to serve in the US Army. Following a service of two and a half years with the 25th Infantry Division he returned to Broadway, becoming a swing in a 2015 production of On the Town.[14] In 2016 in Mexico, Alvarez danced the role of adult Billy in the dream ballet pas de deux between Billy and his older self.[citation needed]

David Alvarez portrays Isaac English in Showtime's 2021 television series American Rust.

While attending Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2018, he auditioned for Steven Spielberg's 2021 film version of West Side Story.[15] He plays the role of Bernardo in this adaptation of the musical.[16]

Personal life

In 2008, Alvarez was listed as one of the top 10 young ballet dancers to watch by Dance Spirit Magazine.[17]

To complement his dancing and acting skills, Alvarez trained in classical piano at the 92nd Street Y School of Music, where he was awarded the Recanati-Kaplan merit scholarship.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 S.W.A.T. Chico V. short
2013 Child's Play Nicolas short
2014 Fitted short
2016 We Regret to Inform You The Deceased short
2021 West Side Story Bernardo
2021 The Stamp Collector Rhodes short


Year Title Role Notes
2021 American Rust Isaac English 9 episodes


  1. ^ Globe and Mail. Young Montrealer wins Tony Award. Printed June 7, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  2. ^ 'Weird' Coincidence Links City Tech To Hit Broadway Show 'Billy Elliot' Newswise, 22 September 2009
  3. ^ "David Álvarez, 14, goes Broadway". nydailynews.com.
  4. ^ "Broadway Billys Announced", Official Billy Elliot website
  5. ^ First Performance Playbill
  6. ^ [1] "Broadway.com"
  7. ^ Brantley, Ben. In Hard Times, Born to Pirouette (to Elton John) at the Imperial Theater The New York Times
  8. ^ La Rocco, Claudia. An Array Of Styles, Assembled For a Cause The New York Times
  9. ^ "Theater review: 'Billy Elliot' on Broadway". Los Angeles Times. 13 November 2008.
  10. ^ Tony Nominations[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Robertson, Campbell (5 June 2019). "billy-elliot-ten-years-later.html". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  12. ^ "david-alvarez-se-une-billy-elliot". www.eluniversal.com.mx. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Meet The Cast of Billy Elliot Mexico". BETM Skykid. Skykid. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  14. ^ Kourlas, Gia (April 24, 2015). "David Alvarez on 'Billy Elliot,' the Army, and 'On the Town'". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Robertson, Campbell (June 5, 2019). "They Shared a Tony for 'Billy Elliot'. What Did They Do for an Encore?". The New York Times.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 14, 2019). "Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Finds Its Maria, Anita, Bernardo & Chino". Deadline Hollywood.
  17. ^ "All applause for Alvarez". winnipegsun.com.
  18. ^ "David Alvarez: Finding Billy - 92Y Blog - 92nd Street y - New York, NY". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-03-03.