Jumaane Williams, Cynthia Nixon reunite for reading of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’

Williams, who says acting was his “first love,” will play the Fool alongside Nixon, who will be King Lear.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has been in politics for years — but acting, he says, was his “first love.” 

“That was kind of the journey I was going to be on,” Williams told amNewYork. 

On Wednesday, Williams will participate in a reading of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at the Edie Windsor SAGE Senior Center in midtown alongside actress and activist Cynthia Nixon. 

The event is part of a Theater of War Productions initiative called “The King Lear Project,” which presents readings of scenes from the Shakespearean tragedy “to engage audiences in critical discussions on elder care, dementia and elder abuse,” according to a release. 

The “social-impact theater company” teamed up with SAGE, an organization dedicated to caring for LGBT seniors, to bring it to fruition. 

“Any time my love of acting and my work around social justice issues and politics intersect, it’s a great day for me,” Williams said. 

Williams, who has been involved with Theater of War for several years, will be playing the Fool; Nixon will play King Lear, the release says. Actors Daphne Rubin-Vega, Chinasa Ogbuagu, Chinaza Uche and Marjolaine Goldsmith will also have roles. 

“I’m looking forward to doing something with Cynthia,” Williams said, adding that SAGE “was very interested in having someone like Cynthia” take part in the reading. Williams and Nixon endorsed each other in their unsuccessful primary races for lieutenant governor and governor in 2018. 

The reading will be followed by an audience discussion “designed to break down the isolation that can accompany aging and caregiving, through a deeper understanding of complex family and caregiver dynamics,” the release says. 

Forums like this can help people feel more at ease discussing topics that are often hard to broach, Williams said.  

“It’s phenomenal to see how this works, because some of these subjects are difficult to talk about, and finding a creative way to get people to open up is good,” he said. “And I’ve seen it happen time and time again for issues that are difficult.” 

The reading will take place at the Edie Windsor SAGE Senior Center on Seventh Avenue, between 27th and 28th streets, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 6:30 p.m. The event is closed to the public.

Maya Rajamani