As summer creeps into fall, Mark William is ready to make up for lost time.
The 25-year-old actor and singer, who is based in New York, will take the stage of Manhattan’s Green Room 42 this Saturday with a new concert, “Back With a Beat.” The show will feature songs from his 2019 debut album, “Come Croon With Me,” as well as a selection of new material that reflects his perspective on 2021 and renewed passion for Broadway after an unprecedented 18-month shutdown.
The evening aims to establish William as a 21st-century song-and-dance man who harkens back to Dick Van Dyke and Frank Sinatra, while embracing a contemporary pop vibe ― and, if his past performances are any indication, he’ll pull it off with panache. The show is also auspiciously timed, taking place just one day before the belated Tony Awards.
“It’s really a celebration of being back, being alive again and just getting things rolling once again,” he told HuffPost. “I think we’ve all grown and changed, even in small ways, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I have a different perspective on what I’m singing about and what I want to discuss with my audience than I did before. I’m ready to connect with a new mindset.”
Watch Mark William sing “On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)” below.
Like many young artists, William had high hopes for 2020. The Toledo, Ohio, native was riding a wave of critical acclaim for “Come Croon With Me,” which had been released in fall 2019. Less than a week before COVID-19 shuttered theaters and music venues worldwide, he and his six-piece band performed their sixth sold-out Green Room 42 engagement. The night’s starry audience included Tony winners Chita Rivera and Warren Carlyle.
“Our momentum was really going,” William recalled. “I had a wonderful show, but two weeks later, I was back in Ohio. It was very abrupt and worrying. Hopefully, the momentum just paused, and didn’t get pushed back.”
In spite of COVID-19’s devastations, William used the unexpected downtime to pursue new professional endeavors. He and longtime musical director Clint Edwards took their live act on the road, playing to socially distanced crowds at Maine’s Deertrees Theatre and Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel, Indiana, this summer. He also filmed a pilot for an as-yet-untitled television series, in which he plays a Catholic priest grappling with his sexuality, that’s currently aiming for a streaming release.
Meanwhile, William has also been collaborating with musician Andrew Morrissey on a new musical, “A Wilde Affair,” which transplants the works of Oscar Wilde into the disco days of the late 1970s.
For now, however, William’s focus is on “Back With a Beat,” which, if all goes according to plan, will serve as an artistic reentrenchment. Next year, he hopes to embark on a national concert tour. He’s got his sights set on Broadway too, with Patrick Dennis in “Mame” and Bert in “Mary Poppins” among his dream roles. A sophomore album, he adds, is “definitely on the docket,” though no release date has been set.
“Broadway and classic standards is where I feel the most comfortable, but I’m always trying to stretch myself and give my audience something they might not expect out of me,” he said. “A lot of singers that people go to see ... they just pull up sheet music and sing. That’s not what we do. I’m creating a story, a fantasy to go on with the audience.”
Mark William plays New York’s Green Room 42 on Sept. 25.