Sunday, July 31, 2016
Spotlight On...Brynn Williams
Hometown: I moved around a lot when I was a kid... Lets just say Maryland
Why theater?: For one thing, I've always been around it. My mom was a performer. I used to love watching her and her cast mates onstage in shows or at rehearsals. I'm addicted to every aspect of being onstage, but there's something special about being able to stand in-front of an audience and in 2 hours or so, tell a story that can change someones day or perspective on life.
Who do you play in Freedom Riders?: I play Diane Nash.
Tell us about Freedom Riders: Diane Nash is Chairperson of the Freedom Rides. Although she handles the organizing and planning aspect of the movement extremely well, where she really wants to be is on the busses with the other Freedom Riders. She has no desire to be chairperson but takes her role in stride and ends up being the driving force behind the rides. She is mild mannered and polite but at the same time is not intimidated at all by people like Martin Luther King Jr. or Robert Kennedy.
What is it like being a part of Freedom Riders?: Being a part of Freedom Riders is unlike anything I've ever been involved in! The rehearsal period was such a whirlwind! I still can't believe how much we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. It was challenging but we have an amazing cast and creative team. It's so cliché to say, but our cast really is a family! I love all of them so much even though we've only been together for a short time. Also, this is my first time being in a show that centers around true historical events. I feel this huge responsibility because of it. Our cast was fortunate enough to actually speak to Miss Diane Nash and ask her questions. That is an experience I will never forget! If I couldn't physically be there in 1961, the least I can do for Miss Nash and all of the freedom riders is tell their story as authentically as possible.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: All theater speaks to me; Every show, for a different reason. I think that's why I'm so compelled to be a part of it—Especially musical theater. Other artists inspire me! Usually, the other actors I'm working with. For example, right now I'm working on Freedom Riders with Mykal Kilgore and Maurice Murphy. Just by being around them and getting to witness their gifts first hand, they inspire to to push my own boundaries and take more extreme risks. You can't possibly watch them perform and not be moved or inspired by everything they bring to the show.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: TONS! But for now I'll narrow it down to Eva Peron in Evita, Aida, and Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde. I have such a horrible case of musical ADD. Ask me this same question in a month and I'll have a whole new list of characters.
What’s your favorite showtune?: Mr. Mistoffelees from Cats! That was my first ever Broadway show, so that song will always have a special place in my heart. I can't wait to see the revival!
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with Lin Manuel Miranda or Audra McDonald! They are amazing.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: “Diary of a Random Black Girl: The Brynn Williams Story.” Is that too long? It's too long. It's just the working title. We're currently in pre-production. My sister Jazzy Williams would probably play me. She's annoyingly perfect at imitating my weird quirks and mannerisms, and it doesn't hurt that she's an amazing TV/movie actress. Either her, or Adrianne Warren. (I've been a fan of hers since I saw her on tour in Dreamgirls).
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I don't think I will ever get over missing Shuffle Along. But, I would also love to have seen the original broadway cast of Purlie!
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I talk about The Color Purple so much you would think I'm a part of the marketing team! I love everything about that show. I'm also obsessed with all the talented little “maggots” of Matilda.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I don't really have “guilty” pleasures. I'm the biggest dork and I love what I love shamelessly and totally guilt-free haha. However, I am a a super fan of of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I have no shame.
What’s up next?: I can't say much about it, but I'm working on a Wizard of Oz themed project and playing one of my dream roles, so you can look for that in the future. Other than that I'm teaching Masterclasses, auditioning, singing in any concert available... Keeping busy any way I can, really. Such is the life of a Gypsy.
For more on Brynn, visit www.BrynnWilliams.com