FRONT & CENTRE: Starring in Moses, the actor gives a commanding lead performance.
Playing Biblical patriarchs has become second nature for Wynton Williams. He has Father HoLung & Friends to thank for that. The 40-something thespian, who pulls double duty on every HoLung production, as leading man and Musical Director, has filled the sandals of everyone from King David to Jesus of Nazareth to Moses, who he calls “an honest seeker” and brought to life with utter conviction and powerful singing in a Thespy-worthy revival of the award-winning musical inside the National Arena recently. TALLAWAH caught up with Williams on opening night to learn some more about the man behind the big voice and riveting portrayal:
As an actor, what do you always do just before going on stage?
“I always try to find a secluded spot to mentally go through what I’m about to do. On show days, I make an effort to come at the call time, but I do make an effort to hide because once you get with the group it’s a different kind of energy.”
What’s the best Jamaican play you’ve ever seen that you don’t appear in?
“After seeing Oliver Mair’s Laff It off, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Laughs). And there have been a few others over the year. At Centrestage, for example. I haven’t been to the theatre a lot in recent times, but I always enjoy myself whenever I go.”
What’s the last movie that made you cry?
“I watched [Tom Hooper’s] musical version of Les Miserables, but it wasn’t anything like the drama version (of the 1990s). The drama version brought me to tears. It was excellent. I watched it twice, and it really moved me. The themes in a movie like Les Miserables are key to the understanding of life.”
If you could sing a duet with any female vocalist, who would you choose?
“There are so many. I don’t have a preference really. I will work with you if you are willing to work with me.”
Is there a favourite book you’d love to recommend?
“Not off the top of my head. I read a lot of business books and, of course, about my faith. I have a few books on my Kindle, but I study more than I read.”
The best thing you can cook is?
“My wife mainly does the cooking. But I love my Jamaican food – curried goat, rundown, ackee and saltfish. Maybe next in line is Chinese and Indian, but Jamaica takes the cake.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“For me, it’s really the scripture passage that says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.’ That has always resonated with me.”