Actor Treat Williams returns to theater roots on Vermont stage

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the latest details.

Actor Treat Williams has made more than 75 movies and TV shows in a career stretching over five decades, so why is the star doing summer theater in Vermont?

As a young man, he moved to Los Angeles and lasted just four months there, saying he just didn't feel comfortable amid all that glitz and glamour. He was born in Rowaton, Connecticut, and remains a New Englander with close ties to New York City.

More than 35 years have passed since he starred as a narcotics detective exposing corruption in the NYDP in the Oscar-nominated "Prince in the City," but his heart remains close to home.

"I always wanted to be what we called a 'New York actor,'" he said. "I had no pretensions of ever being on film or television in my life."

And so Broadway came first.

"The fact that I was on stage for so many years before I ever really started to hit in films was incredibly helpful for me," he said. "You know, you're out there for two hours on your own, and that's a skill that a lot of young actors don't have."

His run as Dr. Andy Brown in "Everwood" introduced him to a younger generation, and he continued to make films. But the stage kept calling to him.

"There's this energy between the actors and the audience," he said. "There's nothing, there's no drug on earth, like it. Everybody's gaining from it."

It was the desire to feel that energy again that led Williams to the small Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont, which is close to where he has a home.

"(Artistic director) Dina Janis came to me and said, 'Wonder if you'd be interested in working there this summer,'" Williams said. "And I said, 'Oh, summers, I want to be home on my tractor and flying airplanes.' And she said 'American Buffalo,' and I said, 'OK. I'll do it.'"

Williams is a longtime friend of David Mamet, who wrote "American Buffalo."

"It's a huge, huge honor for me," Janis said. "He has an amazing honesty, a real authenticity."

Just recently, Williams played the late Senator Ted Kennedy opposite Kerry Washington's Anita Hill in the movie "Confirmation." At this stage of his career, he says he wants to limit himself to worthwhile projects wherever they may be.
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