What started you on the path of acting?
I’d have to give credit to my brother. My brother exposed me to the wonderful world of acting … he was a theatre major at USC (South Carolina). After seeing a stage play he was directing, I became completely fascinated with the craft and secretly wanted to try it … I would watch television shows and repeat character lines in my head. Years later, my brother and I were sharing an apartment in Charlotte, North Carolina, and while getting dressed for work one morning, I heard an announcement over the radio for an audition for the play, “A Raisin In the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry. I went out for it and about a week later, I got the call that I was cast. ..I’ve been riding down that path, looking to recapture that feeling ever since.
Tell me about your Langston Hughes project?
My Langston Hughes project is titled, The Soul of Langston. It’s a one-man stage play I wrote and am booking for the, Dare to Dream Tour, with a goal of visiting every college, university, library and African-American museum. Seldom do you think of Langston Hughes when you think or speak of Civil Rights, but Langston Hughes was one of the writers, during the Harlem Renaissance period, who expressed social and political concerns and dislikes through the literary art. The Harlem Renaissance, where Langston was a major voice, was the nation’s greatest cultural flourishing that helped establish the Civil Rights Movement. I thought long and hard about creating a piece that would be educational and inspiring, and that would introduce Langston to a new generation; and re-introduce him to people who are acquainted with him. After writing this piece, I can’t listen to music with lyrics …especially hip-hop, without thinking of and thanking Langston Hughes.
What inspires you to be so focused and motivated?
My family; friends; athletes; up and coming artists and not wanting to waste time, trying to make the best use of my time each day. When I see people reach, even a relative level of success, I know the discipline and dedication it takes to get there and that inspires me … it gets my creative juices flowing!
Now, you are directing, what is your online series about?
I’m the creator and producer of a web series called, Do I Have To? It’s a romantic, comedy web series that courts the daily struggles and common situations that arise out of Paul and Kara’s relationship(s). I’m directing, writing and co-writing a couple of episodes … we’re shooting six episodes for the first season and looking to land a distribution deal and/or develop it for other platforms. I’m working with a great team, the crew and cast are total professionals and show up to the set with genuine excitement and unleashed creativity… I couldn’t ask for a better group to work with!
Of your work, what are you most proud?
I’m always amazed and most proud of, Soul of Langston. Because to receive interest is gratifying enough, but to be booked … to be requested to perform my piece before an audience who think I’m worthy enough to give me their time, 60 minutes out of their day, is a humbling experience …every time. I can only thank God for that, He gave me the vision for the show and I give Him all the credit …I truly can do nothing without His Blessing!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still loving the craft and working as a series regular on a prime-time or cable network television show … one I created. I have something to say!
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t acting … I’d be a lawyer. I think that’s the closest profession to acting, where I’d have a stage and an audience.
Follow actor, creator and producer Daron P. Stewart on Twitter @daronstew.