“Hamilton” singer to lead class with Valley High School drama club

A member of the touring company who will perform the musical “Hamilton” at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh is set to speak to students at Valley High School in New Kensington on Wednesday.

Nikisha Williams, singer and actress, will lead a class with students from New Kensington-Arnold School’s Drama Club, offering advice on singing and acting and answering their questions.

He arrives the morning after the first day of performances of “Hamilton” in downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Performances run until March 13.

Valley students are gearing up to stage the musical “Newsies” from April 21-24. It’s the musical that was two weeks away from opening in 2020 when the covid pandemic shut everything down.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Brian Krugle, drama club manager and producer of Williams’ Musical and Arranged Tour. “A lot of times you don’t get the chance to bring someone currently on tour with a show to work with students. That’s going to be a big deal.

The drama club covers the costs, Krugle said.

Krugle hopes an appearance by an artist on one of the biggest shows in years will reignite the motivation and enthusiasm of students, who have also taken a hit during the pandemic.

“I want them to get a taste of what it’s like to be an actor or actress,” he said. “There is a lot more involved in this than you might think. It’s a lot of work to get there. »

Williams’ appearance at Valley High, through the Broadway Plus organization, was the only confirmed booking in the Pittsburgh area during this leg of the tour. More are likely in the coming weeks as last-minute bookings are common, said Nathaniel Hill, founder and president of Broadway Plus.

The “Hamilton” companies travel with about 35 actors, and Hill said they work with about five to book their time doing classes.

Williams, 32, is a native of Mobile, Ala., who resides in Guttenberg, NJ when not on the road. The “Hamilton” tour companies are named after the characters in the show; Williams joined the Philip Touring Company in October 2018, approximately 10 months after its inception.

She was previously a member of the nationwide Broadway tour of “The Color Purple,” which traveled across the United States from October 2017 to August 2018. Prior to her tour, Williams said her “survival work” to pay Bills worked at Ellen’s Stardust. Dinner in New York, with singing waiters.

With “Hamilton”, Williams is part of the ensemble and studies like Eliza Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler and Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds. She thinks she attended around 600 performances of the musical; the company celebrated its 1,000th anniversary in January.

Williams said she started doing school visits around the start of the tour and made 50 to 60 such appearances. They started in towns where she had connections with teachers.

“I love being a resource for kids trying to be in the field I’m in,” she said. “I just hope I can inspire them to continue in acting and give them tools so they can be successful and continue their personal journey into acting.”

Williams said she didn’t know much about Pittsburgh and was looking forward to exploring the city while there.

“I’m delighted to meet the students,” she says. “I know that in this area there will be very talented children.”

Playing “Hamilton” has been wonderful, Williams said.

“I enjoyed the cast so much. They were so welcoming,” she said. “The show, itself, is so fun to be a part of because of all the diversity, and the music is simply wonderful. I was a ‘Hamilton’ fan before I got on the show.

“Being able to be a part of that is kind of one of the dreams that was ticked off my list.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@triblive.com or via Twitter .