Trent Kowalik, at 14 the youngest male to ever win the World Irish Dancing Championships back in 2006, was honored again yesterday with a coveted Tony Awards nod for Best Actor in a Musical for his starring role in "Billy Elliot, the Musical" on Broadway.
Smiles and high-fives greeted Kowalik at the Imperial Theater on Broadway as he took the stage alongside David Alvarez and Kiril Kulish, the two other boys who plays Billy in rotation in the current Broadway run. Now, all three share the same Tony nomination.
The unlikely story of a shy coal miner’s son who becomes a ballet dancer, "Billy Elliot" gained 15 nominations to tie it with the record set by The Producers back in 2001.
“I still love the show and its great to be doing it,” Kowalik told IrishCentral.com. “I’m not even thinking forward to the awards themselves yet because I am still in shock that I got nominated. I still can’t even believe it yet. I’m just going to keep doing the show like normal and see what happens.”
Legendary rocker Elton John, who wrote the musical's score, was also nominated, and said the show has “made an incredible impact” on his life.
Kowalik told the IrishCentral.com that the other two actors who play Billy were also stunned by nomination.
“They’re thinking about it the same way I am. They’re both kind of shocked, too. This is all of our Broadway debuts, and to get this nomination is a big step for us. It’s amazing and I find myself thinking of all the things I went through before even getting here.”
The young actor spoke to more than 35 reporters before noon, all clamoring to talk to the stars of the show that has scooped the most nominations in the sixty third year of the Tony Awards.
For Kowalik though, all the excitement was tempered by his plan to go home and read the fifth book in Irish American Rick Riordan’s answer to Harry Potter series, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians."
“I’ll be reading that book all night on standby at the theater tonight. It’s what I’m most looking forward to tonight. I still haven’t had time to take in the news.”
Kowalik, who began instruction in Irish dancing at the Inishfree School of Irish Dance in New York at the age of 4, was competing at the highest level in Open Championship’ by the age of 6. Now 14, he is a five-time undefeated North American Irish Dance Champion and a World Champion.