by Lorie Lewis Ham
KRL covers a lot of theatre both local and in other parts of California, and we have taken our readers behind the scenes many times to get to know actors, directors, and others involved in putting a show together. This week we are doing something just a bit different, we are doing a Q and A with local actor William Bishop, whom I have enjoyed seeing in several productions!
KRL: Are you from the Fresno area?
William: I was born and raised in Fresno.
KRL: What schools did you attend?
William: I went to Copper Hills Elementary, Granite Ridge intermediate, Clovis North High School, and currently attend Fresno State.
KRL: When did you first get involved in acting and why?
William: I first got involved when I was in the second grade. My mom worked at Clovis West, at the time, and she was vocal coaching Damn Yankees and asked me if I wanted to be in the show. What was really cool about that was that my older brother and sister, who were in high school at Clovis West, were in the show with me.
KRL: What was your first part?
William: My first part was “the bat boy/ensemble” in Clovis West production of Damn Yankees.
KRL: What are some of the shows you have been in, the parts you have played, and with what companies?
William: Some recent shows are 35-Millimeter Musical Exhibition (Selma Arts Center), Heathers the Musical (J.D. at both Fresno State and Selma Arts Center), Peter and The Starcatcher (Slank with Stageworks Fresno), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch Mahoney with Stageworks Fresno), The Little Mermaid (Prince Eric with GCP at Roger Rocka’s) and many more.
KRL: What do you feel has helped you the most in growing as an actor?
William: What’s helped me grow as an actor would be going out and doing shows with different companies throughout the Valley or even down south at camps. Learning from every director/production team has helped me grow a lot as an actor and also as a young adult as well.
KRL: What is your dream role?
William: Dream roles would be Melchior Gabor in Spring Awakening, Fiyero in Wicked, or Aaron Burr in Hamilton.
KRL: Do you have a favorite role you have played so far?
William: My favorite role would have to be J.D. in Heathers the Musical or Shrek in Shrek the Musical.
KRL: Do you have a favorite type of show to be in?
William: Contemporary/dramatic Musicals.
KRL: What do you like best about acting and singing? What is the hardest?
William: What I like best would probably be all the challenges/opportunities it gives you. For instance, like portraying a character that is nothing like me at all or just expressing real emotions and ideas through singing/acting. I think that’s why live theatre is the best. Hardest for me would definitely be Shakespeare. It just takes me longer to decipher and translate it then normal people. But don’t get me wrong, I love Shakespeare.
KRL: Do you have any heroes?
William: My childhood heroes growing up would definitely my parents. They’re the type of parents I want to be like when I have children and I strive each and every day to be like them. They’re my biggest inspiration and will always be my heroes.
KRL: Any funny and/or inspirational stories to share?
William: I honestly can’t remember any funny stories, but I think I totally like switched the verses up in one of my songs in Oliver! And it made no sense and some of my cast mates and I were trying really hard not to laugh cause I messed up big time.
KRL: Do you have any hobbies?
William: Hobbies would include eating a lot of food (especially tepanyaki), playing soccer/basketball, riffing, and sleeping.
KRL: Do you have a day job?
William: I am a barista at Starbucks.
KRL: Is it hard balancing a job and acting and school/work?
William: Yes, it is very difficult, but it’s not impossible to balance all of them.
KRL: What are your future goals and dreams?
William: My goal/dream ever since I was a child was to be on Broadway or to be an actor in movies.
KRL: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into acting?
William: My advice would be…if you really love acting/theater and want to start doing it, then go out and just audition for shows and see what it’s like! Learn from competition and see what the theater world is like because it is filled with incredibly talented and awesome people that only want you to succeed in everything you do.
KRL: Do you know what role you have coming up next?
William: My next role will be Audrey II (the voice) in Little Shop of Horrors with Stageworks Fresno. We open October 6. (Watch for a review of this show in KRL. Tickets can be purchased on the StageWorks website)
KRL: How do you feel about being the voice of Audrey 2? Is it going to be strange just acting with your voice?
William: I honestly am so excited to be able to portray this role again! Audrey 2 is like one of the roles I’ve had the most fun with! No. I don’t think it’s going to be strange. I did the same role in high school, and honestly, it was so much fun just being the voice of Audrey 2!
KRL: Any special prep you are going to do?
William: I just drink a lot of water and hot tea because this role is very vocally demanding, so that’s pretty much my prep for this character.
We look forward to seeing William in many more roles in the Valley, and who knows maybe someday on Broadway!
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