Kevin Ray Johnson
I would like you to meet Sharrod Williams. Sharrod will be performing in the ensemble of The Who’s Tommy at the Kennedy Center (directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes). Mr. Williams has been seen on Broadway in Cats (Pouncival), and Tuck Everlasting and in the Chicago company of Hamilton. This triple threat has also performed in over 40 states on national tours. The sky is the limit for this talented young man, and I honestly feel the best is yet to come for Sharrod. It was such an honor to have the chance to interview him!
How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?
I would say I was about 19 years old. I was always drawn to ballet as a child after seeing the movie Center Stage. Then So You Think You Can Dance came out in high school (I’m giving away my age now) and I loved it. I wanted to be those young performers on TV. I would watch every week with my dad on the couch and then go to my room and try to do the moves they did. After I took my first ballet class in college, I was hooked and planned on continuing my training. I knew performing was what I was meant to do from that point on.
Where did you study? Are there any mentors that helped make you the performer you are today?
I graduated with a double major in Dance and Communication Studies from Montclair State University. The dance program was looking to increase the number of boys, and the program was perfect for a beginner dancer like myself. I had excellent teachers there who pushed me to be my best. One, in particular, is Karen Gayle who was my Horton technique teacher. Her old school approach to the craft and mother like spirit helped me grow in all the best ways. Fortunately, she teaches in NYC at Steps on Broadway, and I pop into class when I can.
Congratulations on The Who's Tommy at The Kennedy Center! Josh Rhodes is wonderful! Do you have any favorite moments in the show?
Thank you! The process has been fast but rewarding. I would say my favorite moment is generally being challenged to take on all the different characters bits throughout out the show. I play a soldier, reporter, club dancer, rock concert attendee… the list goes on. The moments shift so quickly, and you become someone else in a matter of seconds. It keeps me on my toes, and I love it!
Are there any shows that you have done in your career that will always be near and dear to your heart?
There are two. The first is A Chorus Line. It is the show that introduced me to musical theatre as a career option for me. I did the show in college and played Richie. It was right up my alley, and I went on to book the role on the national tour the following fall with Baayork Lee, the original Connie Wong. That show changed my life and spoke to me on all levels as an artist. The second is Hamilton: An American Musical. I got to do pre-production with the dance team before the show became a mega-hit. Then I got to be a part of it in Chicago. Being a swing in the show was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It stretched me as a performer and made me go beyond my comfort zone regularly. Growth is always the goal, and that was the gift I received from being in both of those show in my career. #Grateful.
What advice would you give young performers who want a career in this business?
Explore and expose yourself to all aspects of the craft. There are so many layers to just about everyone’s passion, trade, or profession. Get to know yourself and what you bring to the table. Get to know as much as you can about this business so that you can find where you belong.
The Who’s Tommy is apart of The Kennedy Center’s Broadway Center Stage Series. It will be a one-week engagement from April 24th to April 29th. For ticket more information, please visit – www.kennedycenter.org. To learn more about Sharrod make sure you visit his official website at – www.sharrodwilliams.com