Spotlight on Eric R. Williams: A harrowing story about one of America’s most enigmatic musicians

We’re keeping it rolling, introducing all of the brilliant artists who are building Playing Hot, our jazz concert-party-play hybrid. Today we’re featuring Eric R. Williams, the newest member of the Playing Hot cast. Learn more about Eric below, and grab your tickets to Playing Hot now!

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want the folks reading this to know about Playing Hot? What’s the most important element of this project to you?

Eric R. Williams: This is not your typical night out at the theatre! It’s a literal experience. We’re telling a harrowing story about one of America’s most enigmatic musicians of all time in a way that will stimulate and invigorate the senses in ways we don’t usually expect from the theatre.

PTC: When did you first start working on Playing Hot? Tell us about what this journey has been like for you.

ERW: This is my first tango with Playing Hot. My journey has encompassed all of five days right now and I am loving it! Its been insanely educational, eye-opening and has already stretched me as an actor. I can’t wait to further develop this story and bring it to NYC as the Spring begins to roll on in.

PTC: What is your relationship to Buddy Bolden’s story?

ERW: Right before I left Atlanta to go to college, there was buzz around town about a biopic being made about Buddy Bolden. Dancers were being sought to audition and participate in the film, to appear as patrons in various club scenes and dance sequences. The movie Idlewild was fresh in the minds of many and this new Buddy Bolden movie was slated to be in the same vein. That was the first time I heard about the legendary Buddy Bolden and I was so excited to see what was going to come of the project. Spoiler alert: It never got off the ground. For me to have the opportunity to be apart of telling his story these many years later feels full circle in a way that I can fully appreciate now.

PTC: Talk to us about jazz. What’s your relationship to the music?

ERW: My parents surrounded my little brother and I with jazz – car rides, around the house, birthday parties, you name it. I didn’t grow to appreciate it until I was a teen, but growing up with those sounds in my periphery informed my musical sensibilities in ways I wouldn’t discover until I began training for my BFA. As a singer, I was always partial to the vocal styles of the music, so hearing artists like Dianne Reeves, or those who were influenced by Jazz, like Anita Baker, Dionne Warrick or Luther Vandross only supplemented my musical tastes. Jazz, as a whole, has proven to be like acquiring a taste for wine & I am a sucker for a nice glass of wine.

You can catch Eric in the short film “Introvert’s Guide to Activism” which is currently making it’s festival run. You also might spot him in Mastercard’s Priceless Surprises commercial, opposite Camila Cabello. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @AllFreshAiric and see him in Playing Hot this April 18 – May 12! Grab you tickets here.