Josiah Williams Performing on the Hilltop

November 16, 2010

Dedication is no act for Bradley freshman

By: Melissa McGuire

When freshman Josiah Williams arrived on the Hilltop to study theater this year his education in show business was already a work in progress.

Eight years ago, as a middle school student, Williams joined the First Stage Children's Theater, Milwaukee's second-largest theater company. His first lead role was in Smoldering Fires, a performance Williams admits wasn't stellar.

His second main stage opportunity came during his sophomore year of high school and served as a turning point for the budding actor.

"I had the lead role of Kenny Watson in The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963," Williams said. "I felt the change [during this performance]. I did much more studying of my character, was more focused during rehearsals. It was easier to connect with everyone working on this production because I had become an entirely new person."

Williams was an artistic intern at First Stage last summer, a position that took him behind the scenes and focused on many of the creative processes of theatrical work. He read scripts, sat in on auditions, helped with classes and registration, and occasionally stapled a few papers. This internship even allowed Williams to give a tour to Wisconsin State Representative, Jason Fields.

According to Williams, First Stage believes in teaching "life skills through stage skills," and Williams saw that philosophy at work during his internship.

"I'm used to being on stage, and I have the idea down of what it means to be an actor, but with this internship, I was away from the stage," Williams said. "I focused on life skills, and it prepared me as an individual."

Williams is now applying those life skills in a very busy Bradley experience. He plays bongos and congas in the Bradley Jazz Band, is actively pursuing a role in a campus improvisational theater group, and sings with the Bradley gospel choir.

Next month he will join a cast of beginning theater students in short plays showcasing Bradley's rising stars.  Don't miss "New Faces 2010" on December 3 and 4.