- CHARLES BUSH
In Conversation with Tonya Lee Williams Thursday, January 19, 1:30pm Alderney Landing Theatre $30
Tonya Lee Williams begins our phone interview from LA as direct and unflinching as the golden state's sun: "How did you get onto the path of acting?" I ask, wondering what drew her to the field, what compelled her to play a supporting role for 15 non-consecutive seasons on The Young and The Restless. "So if you have the opportunity to ask someone absolutely anything, is that the first question that comes to mind?... Think about it," she says. Ask "better questions."
It's unsurprising and no real confession when several minutes later the actor behind Y&R's Dr. Olivia Barber Williams and creator of Toronto's ReelWorld Film Festival adds she's no fan of small talk. "The shallowness of conversation can be the hardest part for me," she says.
It makes sense, then, that Williams is the first guest of Juanita Peters and San Family Society's In Conversation with series, a live talk show that mimics Inside The Actors Studio and hits the Alderney Landing Theatre on January 19. She wants a chance to talk big topics, to be asked the right things.
"Juanita said, 'What kind of things would you like to talk about?' So I sent her some questions like 'What are the challenges of living a public life?'...That's the sort of topics I'd be interested in," Williams says.
The series hasn't yet announced which other stars will be bestowing their truths from the hot seat. Whoever they are, Williams will give them a formidable act to follow, as she plans on diving into a range of topics—from "personal boundaries between public and private figures" to helping acting hopefuls set "realistic goals of fame."
The part she's most excited for? "I'm really hoping that [the audience is] coming to the table," she says. "Coming with what I'd call valuable questions, not just anything."
Just be careful how you ask.