Veteran Twin Cities actor James A. Williams, a Macalester College graduate who has been trodding the boards on stages from Penumbra to the Guthrie, Broadway to London, for the past 30 years, has won a national honor for "distinguished achievement."
The Theatre Communications Group, the principal advocate for America's nonprofit theaters, has named Williams was a winner of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship. The award comes with $25,000 in prize money.
“I’m feeling fantastic,” Williams said Wednesday as he headed into a rehearsal of “My Children, My Africa,” which he is directing at Park Square. “It’s thrilling to be recognized on a national level for doing what I love.”
The fellowship has been given annually for ten years to both distinguished artists and those of "extraordinary potential." It supports projects by the artists in partnership with a company. Past winners in the "distinguished" category have included F. Murray Abraham and Kate Valk as well as a surprising num ber of Twin Cities-connected artists, including Gavin Lawrence, Joe Wilson, Jr., Sonja Parks and Theatre de la Jeune Lune co-founder Barbra Berlovitz on the "distinguished" side. Sun Mee Chomet and Sha Cage have won the award for their promise.
Williams, who is partnered with Pillsbury Theatre, plans to create an as-yet-unnamed piece about father-son relationships based on his experience with his absent father and his estranged son. He will collaborate with actor-director Danyon Davis and with vocalist Mankwe Ndosi on this very personal story that he hopes to stage at onstage at Pillsbury House in 2018.