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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

‘Cats Walk: William Ellis speaks on musicals, theater

William+Ellis+smiles+before+the+start+of+his+rehearsal+outside+the+Texas+State+Theatre+Center.

William Ellis smiles before the start of his rehearsal outside the Texas State Theatre Center.

‘Cats Walk is a weekly segment that will highlight Texas State students. Each week, Web Editor Monica Vargas will talk to a different Bobcat about school, self-love and Texas State.
For this segment, Monica interviewed William Ellis, a theater freshman, who will be in the production Antigone” playing a supporting role as an elder. The play will be shown at the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre, from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2.
William’s favorite quote: C’est la vie“ -Unknown.
Vargas: Tell me what you love about yourself.
William Ellis: I love my passion, and how I found where I fit with my talents and charisma. We only have one life, and people have asked me ‘what about money?’ for careers like this, but I want to live my best life. Money comes where the passion is, I believe. I don’t want to live in regret and waste my life. I want to experience and go after my dreams.
My fashion curation is definitely a prime factor I love about myself. I feel you should be expressive of who you are and have fun. 70s era fashion is one of my favorites and ideal influences.
My social ability to adapt to diverse personalities is something I definitely appreciate about myself. I love to explore, try new things, meet new people, and be loving to all walks of life.
Vargas: What inspired you to pursue theater?
William Ellis: When I was like, four or honestly five, I watched the movie “Fantasia 2000,” a Disney movie full of animations directed to match a specific song, and specifically symphonies. One of the many songs in the film was Rhapsody in Blue” and I absolutely fell in love. I played that song on repeat for weeks, just listening to all the beautiful nuances and feeling the fabulous energy and timbre of the song. After years of listening, I found out it was written by George Gershwin, a composer from the 1920s. Curious, I researched his other works, and wouldn’t you know it, he wrote music for plenty of fabulous musicals. So I listened to GershwinBerlin and Porter. Then, Sondheim, Webber, Bock, and every composer on Broadway until I finally found the world of theatre in it’s totality. It was something I knew I was going to be a part of in some way or fashion. The song Rhapsody in Blue” has always been a theme in my life. From the short film I made my senior year of high school, to the background music in some of my favorite musicals and films, it always finds a way back into my life to bring me more meaning. Rhapsody in Blue” has inspired me in my theatrical career.
Vargas: What was your first theater audition like?
William Ellis: First show audition was for “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat musical. In middle school is when I decided to give it a shot. They gave me a piece of music to learn and my monologue. As soon as I got to the casting call I saw all the other prospective actors for the show and started comparing myself, thinking everyone else is better and I [didn’t] know why I [was] there. This is something most theater actors face. So, standing in front of the whole crew which included the director, audio director and everyone who decides if I’m in or not, I got up on stage, was terrified shaking in my boots and sang the song I practiced daily. At the moment, it seemed insane and scary I was doing this, but I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. I did not get the part after all that. I realized they are human and they are not scary at all. Soon after I auditioned again, not giving up, and got cast in Arthur Miller’s “American Clock.”
Vargas: What was it like after you received your first casting? How did you feel as you prepared to be in front of a large audience?
William Ellis: New to the theater, super stressful, felt out of place though later found out it is my place. [I was] overwhelmed adjusting to the new gig and rehearsing my part. My friends told me I just wanted to do this for attention. It’s true; I’m the youngest of my siblings and desire that. Because this is my passion, even though I felt out of the loop, I gave my all, my emotions, research, practiced and fell in love with theater even more. This first play ended up winning first place in a competition.
Vargas: How many hours do you dedicate to rehearsal? Do you also have time to work outside of classes and rehearsal?
William Ellis: Currently, I’m enrolled in 14 hours this semester, and spend 25 hours of rehearsal each week for this play I am cast in. It definitely requires much of my focus, and I really enjoy it. It’s hard work with all I have to manage, but I still make some time to take a social break with my friends. This semester I’m working at the LBJ Disability Services for 14 hours a week. It’s all about commitment and seeing the rewards from it.
Vargas: Tell me about where you are from and your family.
William Ellis: I was born in Dallas, moved to Utah then moved here for school. My parents did not finish college, so technically I’m a first-generation college student. I have three siblings and one of my sisters is my best friend. She is a preschool teacher. My family is also [in the] theatrical community. We are always together for long periods of time and go through life together.
Vargas: Favorite music to listen to?
William Ellis: Anything disco, I love it so much it’s a problem.
Vargas: Favorite book and play of all time?
William Ellis: Book, “The Invisible Addie La Rue.” Play, “Angels in America.”
Vargas: Anything you would like to say to students in pursuit of this field or in general?
William Ellis: This is going to sound harsh but truthful: nobody cares. People who are afraid to do something: nobody cares. You only have one life to live, don’t miss out on opportunities. Live your life. Money comes from your passion.
William Ellis’s Instagram: @williamwe.pdf
To keep up with students featured in ‘Cats Walk, visit The University Star’s Instagram @universitystar.

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