Interview by Jen Bush
Juson Williams is one of the busiest and hardest working people in show business. He is the landlord of his wheelhouse! You can see him starring in SOLEDAD, a compelling prison drama opening soon. “I’m an Actor/Singer/Songwriter/Director/Choreographer/ Teacher/Executive Director/Artistic Director/PRODUCER! I like keeping my hands in various facets of this crazy, yet beautiful business”
Mr. Williams is not tied down to one specific creative process. He does what is necessary to bring a character to life while being open to collaboration and wonderful discoveries along the way. “LISTENING and research! That combination together is absolutely instrumental in bringing nuances to the work, that you are building and creating! I don’t have a specific process because I work with different artists and directors who may not work the way that I work, so I keep myself open so that the collaboration is epic and uniquely organic. Of course I have things I bring to the table but I’ve learned that if a being is leading the scene, rock with them while adding YOUR few cents to the scenic party! I believe in living in the moment and allowing your soul to transform and move with the tide!”
For Mr. Williams, artistry is like a delectable box of chocolates! He was drawn to this play for many wonderful reasons. “The fact that it was a chocolate piece,(Yep! I’m voting for everything chocolatey) and of course directed by the courageous Patricia Floyd! When I got the call from the director asking me to read it for the possibilities of being a part of it, I said OK! You don’t say no to one of the most fierce directresses that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, as an actor, as well as, a choreographer and musical director. We’ve known each other for at least 15 years, have created many works and have collected some awards to boot. I then read it that night and was like WOAH!!!!!! EJ Robinson is someone whom I need to know! I’ve heard of his piece SPADES, but was unavailable to check it out, due to my schedule, but the poetry and language of SOLEDAD Feels authentic with a mix of Shakespeare and August Wilson. I fell in love with the character because I’ve never truly brought a character like Floyd to life, in a play! EJ’s use of language and through lines cause for such good story telling through a rough lens that we ordinarily do not discuss. It’s bold and brave and needs me so I said YES! HECK YES! And here we are!”
When a piece has serious subject matter, artists sometimes feel an added responsibility to present the material in a more cautious manner. Mr. Williams feels an all-encompassing responsibility to any work he is a part of. “Hmmmm! That’s hard to say because I believe that as artists, it is our duty to tell our truth while making the characters and their journey that is represented, authentic and true to life, ALWAYS. I believe in the power of impacting, especially if it represents the time! I’ll always choose my participation in a work, only if it has something to say. So a true answer would be anytime I do something, it’s my responsibility to believe that the subject matter relates to the time or makes a huge impact on its audience!”
Live performances have made a triumphant return in the face of COVID which still persists. Mr. Williams feels the way many artists feel having a combination of fear and excitement. “COVID has been a rough thing since 2020 for me! I was working in Miami when it came into full fruition, When theatre closed down March 13th 2020. COVID was running rampant in NYC at that particular time. I’ve avoided COVID thus far and have been extremely careful, but it’s still scary. My first gig, in a theatre since COVID, was September 2021 and I’ve been running ever since, so although I am weirded out about this thing looming in the air, I’m excited about life trying to come back to the theatre.”
People are divided on mask wearing. Some people are thrilled to be liberated from them while others remain vigilant and still wear them. Mr. Williams thinks the latter is the way to go post-COVID. “What it should look like???? People should still be required to wear masks! It’s crazy that we are not following that protocol anymore! Shows are still closing without enough coverage to keep them open because cast members are STILL getting this! There needs to be more implanted! What that is? I don’t know, but at the least, patrons should wear mask!”
Given Mr. Williams’ talents, skills, experience and overall exuberance toward life and the arts, it is no surprise that he has a plethora of exhilarating projects happening next! “Oh wow, I have a few things coming up! The day after SOLEDAD ends (for the moment) I start rehearsals for this immersive piece called LOVE AROUND THE BLOCK it will be outside on Madison Avenue, near the Hermes store! I can’t speak too much about it, but it will be a good time on Madison and 52nd. Lol
I am also working with my Choir JW’s Inspirational Singers, who was on Americas Got Talent last season, is working on an album and documentary or reality show! Anyone out there want to help? Lol check us out on Facebook and Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter! We even have a Gofund me!
I’m also The Director of a new Ella Fitzgerald Play in Poughkeepsie NY! it’s in pre-production right now and goes up in December!
Passion projects and financial projects are in full bloom! I want more! Lol. I’m just moving towards my shining light!”