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Billy Parsons

There are few details available about Billy Parsons, a Broadway hoofer from the early 1940s. He first appeared on Broadway as a “Dancing Boy” and member of the ensemble in the 1941 musical, Best Foot Forward, by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, which featured a young June Allyson as Minerva. Parsons next appeared as “Sailor” in Jay Gorney and Barry Trivers’ short-lived 1948 musical, Heaven on Earth – the run lasted for only twelve performances.

Billy Parsons is remembered as Willie in the 1951 musical adaptation of Betty Smith’s bestselling novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, featuring words and music by Arthur Schwartz and Dorothy Fields. As critic Brooks Atkinson noted in his enthusiastic review of the show in the New York Times on April 20, 1951, “Everyone in the cast is in the sunniest humor . . . [It] is a darlin’ show in a hospitable mood with a liking for its people and locale.”