Michael Williams’ first big musical after college is impressive.
Williams takes the lead as David Shayne in Bullets Over Broadway, which comes to the Peoria Civic Center March 1-2. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. both nights, with tickets available at the Toyota Box Office or online at www.peoriaciviccenter.com.
While this may be Williams’ first Broadway tour, he has been singing for years.
“My mom and dad were pretty bigger singers in the church community we were in, so I started doing musicals there in choir functions,” he said.
In high school, he started as the younger Gene Kelly character in “Singing in the Rain,” Melchior in “Spring Awakening” and also in the Stephen Schwartz musical “Working.”
His college years at Webster Conservatory had Williams in several more musicals, such as “Legally Blonde,” “Into the Woods” and “All Shook Up.”
“I graduated in May, so I went straight from there to Summerstock Theater in Nebraska,” Williams said. “This is my first big post-college professional job.”
He said the role came to him from a series of connections. He did a showcase in college in February 2014, which lead to an employee at a casting company creating a video of him to send to various casting directors.
By April, he came in for a three day audition performing songs and scenes before finally being offered the role of Shayne.
Throughout the show, Shayne, who has written the script of the show called “God of Our Fathers” being played in the musical, has multiple meltdowns due to mistakes while preparing for the show.
“I like that he goes 100 percent into the mistakes of the show,” Williams said. “It’s fun to play larger than life mood swings.”
The show, which features a gangster escort, affairs and more all while trying to prepare for opening night, also has a “phenomenal” number that Williams said “doesn’t get enough credit.”
“One of the better underrated songs from the show is “It’s Not a Fit Night Out for Man or Beast,” he said.
On a personal level, Williams said one of his favorite numbers he performs is “She’s Funny That Way,” which he called a sweet and sincere song performed with his on-stage girlfriend, Ellen, played by Hannah Rose Deflumeri.
Overall, Williams said the mulsical features fantastic dancing and a range of comedy from dry to slapstick.
“The audience can expect a lot of surprises and things they haven’t seen before,” Williams said. “Prepare to laugh and be impressed by the cast.”