Alcoa woman, 61, to debut in ‘We Shall Overcome’
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
A 61-year-old Alcoa woman will soon get her moment in the entertainment limelight.
Lucinda Williams, who is the daughter of Dorothy Mynatt, was one of three community members selected to join the cast of “We Shall Overcome,” a 90-minute production that addresses current issues of apathy and misinformation regarding the civil rights movement. Ten people auditioned locally for the musical presentation.
The Richard Williams Jr. Leadership Academy has partnered with the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planning Committee and Knoxville-based Optasia Productions to present the production. The story follows multicultural students who have little appreciation for the sacrifices and tireless work of King and numerous unsung heroes.
Producers have scheduled shows for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are still available at the Clayton Center for the Arts’ box office, in addition to the venue’s website.
Williams learned about the production through an article in The Daily Times, and she was immediately interested in participating in the local auditions. However, the 61-year-old was also nervous about doing so.
“I was a little afraid to audition, but my friends and family kept suggesting that I do it,” she said. “I’ve always been a dramatic person, and I feel natural enough doing it. I was in concerts and plays as a student. I’ve sung my whole life, and I sing every year in Japan with my church (Mount Pleasant AME Zion Church). I’ve always wanted to perform in community theater, but I didn’t have the time until now. My children are grown, and my grandchildren are being taken care of by their parents now.”
Williams finally gathered the courage to audition and started preparing her monologue. She then had to impress the producers.
‘Jumped for joy’
“I played it to the hilt like I was an Academy Award winner,” Williams said. “When I got the call that I’d been selected, I jumped for joy and told my family and friends about it. I also got the part that I wanted, but I don’t want to reveal who I’m playing right now. I don’t want to jinx myself, so I’ve been studying the historical person behind my part.”
She relishes the opportunity to perform in “We Shall Overcome.”
“I waited until I was 61 years old to perform. I’m blessed and privileged to be able to do it now. I’ve seen movies and read about the civil rights movement, so it’s humbling to take part in this particular production.
“When it started, I was a teenager,” Williams said. “As I’ve grown older, I’ve tried to learn more about it. We’ve already held several rehearsals, and I’ve cried and laughed because I know what is actually behind the story.”
She has forged friendships with many cast members. “I’ve met so many wonderful people who I would have never met without this opportunity. It’s truly a blessing to live long enough to be able to do what you always wanted to do.”
Williams also hopes that audience members have the same emotional reactions as the cast and crew. “If I was sitting in the audience, I’d kick myself if I wasn’t involved in it. I’d feel the need to be a part of it. We celebrate MLK Day in January, and the rest of the year it’s not a big deal. We should think about Dr. King’s teachings for the entire year. We need to wake up every morning thinking about what Dr. King believed and try to live his dream every day.
“Regardless of color, we need to live Dr. King’s dream and love each other,” she said. “We’re all going to end up in the same place one day, so we might as well start now.”