It's that time of year when, here in the US, we're thawing our turkeys, baking our pies and thinking about what we're thankful for.
Well, I'm thankful Jim Williams ended his hiatus of sixteen years and returned to the stage.
Here's Jim Williams as Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone, currently playing at the Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way, Coronado, CA. (619) 435-4856
This past weekend, Mr. Summy, two good friends and I went to see The Drowsy Chaperone. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's one of the best plays we've seen in the last four years (which is when we started regularly going to the theater together). And we ALL loved The Drowsy Chaperone--no mean feat for people who have trouble agreeing on which sushi rolls to order.
In brief, The Drowsy Chaperone is a very funny musical comedy. From the Coronado Playhouse's website: This hilarious show-within-a-show begins when a die-hard musical comedy fan dusts off his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone. The album magically bursts to life and the audience is instantly immersed in the glamorous, comical tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day.
I called Jim after the play to ask him a few questions for this post (yes, I'm that kind of pushy blogger).
Me: So, what ended the sixteen-year hiatus? Did the stars align? You won the lottery? Your wife threatened to leave if you didn't get back on stage? Seriously, tell us and we'll make it happen again.
Jim: It was the play. When it first came out on Broadway, my daughter gave me the CD. Then I saw it in Orange County. And I said that if The Drowsy Chaperone ever comes to San Diego, the Man in Chair is the one part that will pull me out of this hiatus.
Me: Which begs the question...why did you take sixteen years off? Did the stars misalign? You lost the lottery? Your wife threatened to leave if you didn't spend more time at home? Seriously, tell us and we'll make sure it doesn't happen again.
Jim: It was a combination of Santee* losing its place for performing, and my wife and I deciding to do a bunch of traveling. And it was a nice break. When I did theater in the eighties and nineties, I was in rehearsal Monday through Thursday and then in performance, perhaps at different theater, on the weekend. This went on for about fifteen years.
Me: What was it like, jumping back in the saddle, er, the armchair, after so much time away?
Jim: When I was first preparing for my audition and I was trying to memorize a monologue, I thought this is never going to work. Then, the next day, I discovered I’d remembered more than I was expecting. Also, I really didn’t think I’d get cast for the part.
Me: And how’s it been?
Jim: Exhilarating! A lot of this is due to the cast of the show who were wonderful to me. They’re all extremely talented. And you couldn’t ask for a better producer or director. It’s been a thrill!
Me: What’s next? And if you say another sixteen-year hiatus, you understand there are people who might hurt you. ☺
Jim: What I really really want to do most is work with my kids and grandkids in theatre. So, I’m on the look-out for a good role and the opportunity to work on stage with my kids and grandkids.
Me: Directors and producers of San Diego County, you heard the man! Thanks, Jim, for the interview. And thank you for The Drowsy Chaperone! In kid/teen lingo, you rocked the house!
(*Santee is our little corner of San Diego county.)
The Drowsy Chaperone is playing at the Coronado Playhouse until Dec. 4. I can't recommend it highly enough. The show boasts a TON of talent. Debbie David's (the drowsy chaperone herself) delivery was impeccable; I couldn't have laughed harder. Tiffany Loui was a most energetic bride-to-be. We will be sure to see everything directed by Thomas Fitzpatrick; he's that good. It was a trip seeing Jessica Brandon, Manny Bejarano, Meredith Russo and Katie Beth Umlor on stage again. Really, I feel bad not mentioning everyone associated with this play!
Please check out the posts by the other My Town Monday participants by clicking here.
Oh, and disclaimer: I wasn't compensated for this post. I'm just a blogger who likes a good play....and a good book...and a bag of fresh licorice.