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Shawn Williams: Local Actor/Dancer/Singer and Now Director

IN THE January 15 ISSUE

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by Lorie Lewis Ham

KRL always enjoys taking a look behind the curtain of local theatre. We have interviewed actors, singers, dancers, directors, and more. This week we are interviewing someone who either has, or will be doing, most of those during his time in local theatre, Shawn Williams. Recently he was seen reprising his role of Buddy in Elf at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater, presented by Good Company Players.

Buddy (Shawn Williams) in GCP’s production of “Elf: the Musical”

KRL: Are you from Fresno? If not, where are you from and how did you end up here?

Shawn: I was born in Fresno and grew up in Chowchilla, CA. I moved to Fresno at 19 because I was tired of commuting to perform almost nightly.

KRL: What is your current day job?

Shawn: I work for Good Company Players in the business office doing website maintenance and a myriad of other tasks. This month will be my 7-year anniversary working with Good Company. And over the last year and a half, I have been working for my dear friend, Greg Ruud, on his venture, Merlin’s Estate Sales and Liquidations.

theatre

Prince Charming (Greg Grannis), and Rapunzel’s Prince (Shawn Williams) in GCP’s production of “Into the Woods”

KRL: When did you first get involved in theatre and why?

Shawn: My interest in theatre started when I was a Junior in high school in Drama I. Immediately I was ‘bit by the bug’… I first started performing when I auditioned and was cast in GCP’s Junior Company in late 2012.

KRL: What was your first part?

Shawn: The first MainStage show I was cast in was Fiddler on the Roof. Laurie Pessano directed and I was cast as Fyedka, the Russian. I remember thinking I had just got a handle on singing and dancing, but now they want me to act?!

KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, and the parts you have played?

Shawn: I have gone on to perform with Good Company Players in such shows as Elf as Buddy, Something Rotten as Shakespeare, A Christmas Story the musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, Footloose, and Mamma Mia.

On the right-William Shakespeare (Shawn Williams) in GCP’s production of “Something Rotten”

KRL: When did you first get involved in dancing and how?

Shawn: I started getting serious about dancing when GCP announced they were going to be doing Crazy For You which is a fun and fabulous tap show. So Seth Scott was teaching a class through GCP and I stayed. I took dance classes, ballet, tap, ballroom etc. for about 4 years straight.

theatre

Left to right in the back-Katherine (Maya Gengozian), Jack (Jacob Phelen) and Davey (Shawn Williams)in GCP’s production of “Newsies”

KRL: Have you done any directing?

Shawn: I am directing my first show this year. We finished casting in December and I am very excited. Come see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater in March.

KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show?

Shawn: I am a big fan of classical musical theatre. The first movie musical I ever saw was The Sound of Music, so I started with the good stuff. But I listen to anything musical theatre. It is important that we cultivate new and innovative ways to do theatre!

Shawn in GCP’s production of “Annie”

KRL: What do you like best about acting/singing?

Shawn: The best parts about performing are the connections we make. I love hanging out backstage and sharing laughs or even making an audience laugh!

KRL: What do you feel has helped you the most in growing as an actor?

Shawn: I think the only way to get better at acting is to do more of it. And also, you have to have some life experience in most cases. I took a lot of classes as well, which proved extremely insightful.

Jervis Pendleton (Shawn Williams) in GCP’s production of “Daddy Long Legs”

KRL: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?

Shawn: The best advice for any young or new actor is to keep going. If you love it, keep working.

KRL: What is your dream role?

Shawn: I have had many dream rolls since I first discovered musical theater. The one that’s probably been the most absurd and the most consistent is Dolly Levi.

KRL: Thanks so much for joining us here today Shawn!

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!

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