Many theater students only dream of treading the boards on the Broadway stage. But today, only two weeks after graduating from Cary High School, Joshua Williams heads to New York City as one of two 2012 Triangle Rising Star recipients participating in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards.
Williams auditioned for the Rising Star competition last spring but wasn’t chosen. This year, he auditioned on the Durham Performing Arts Center stage for the second annual competition and was chosen from more than 20 applicants from six counties.
Williams will work with private coaches, take master classes and rehearse with theater professionals until June 26. He is one of 60 students from across the United States competing for an award for Best Performance by an Actress and Actor. He will also be considered for merit scholarships and other prizes.
Q: Have you always been into theater?
No, before high school, I hadn’t done any theater or musical theater. I fell in love with it when I got to high school; it gave me a niche.
Before I took on my first role as the Scarecrow in the “Wizard of Oz,” I had never sung before. In the audience, my mom looked at my dad and said, “Where did that come from?”
I have to give credit to my voice teacher Elizabeth Grayson for her influence in my endeavors, and how much she has impacted my voice.
Q: Has all of your experience been with Cary High School theater?
Mostly. I’ve done a couple of things with Applause! Cary Youth Theatre. And I was an extra in Ira David Wood’s “A Christmas Carol” in 2010 at DPAC.
Q: How did you decide to audition for Rising Stars?
Last year, I was in “Bye Bye Birdie,” and my drama teacher told me I should try out. This year, I auditioned again with “C’est Moi” from Camelot. I played Lancelot, and they were looking for someone who had a large presence onstage.
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
I have watched the videos from last year, and I’ve been dreaming about going to New York. Most of all, I can’t wait to be on that Broadway stage. It’s a dream come true.
I also look forward to being there working with professional voice coaches, casting directors and actors.
Q: What are your plans for this fall, now that you’ve graduated high school?
I was accepted into the BFA musical theater program at East Carolina University. I’m looking forward to taking on the dance portion of the program. Our shows in high school haven’t been too elaborate in the dance department.
Q: What about post-college?
I don’t think that I could do anything else with my life than be in musical theater, especially on Broadway.
Q: What is your dream role?
Javert from “Les Miserables.”
Q: Do you get to see much musical theater? Have you seen anything recently that impressed you?
I got to see “Wicked” at DPAC recently. I thought the actors were fantastic. It confirmed that I love the stage; I couldn’t do anything else.
Q: On June 25, you’ll perform in a production as part of Rising Stars. Will your parents get to see it?
Yes, my family will come up to New York to see me perform. I am the youngest of six children, and three of the six will get to come, too.