Did You Know That Before This Is Us Ron Cephas Jones Made His Name in Theatre?

Special Features   Did You Know That Before This Is Us Ron Cephas Jones Made His Name in Theatre?
The man who plays jazz cat William first saw success on the Broadway stage.
Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill in NBC’s <i>This Is Us</i>
Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill in NBC’s This Is Us Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The NBC drama starring Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia earned nine 2019 Emmy nominations, including one for Ron Cephas Jones. The show, which began in 2017, started by following Kate, Kevin, Randall, and Jack (four seemingly unrelated characters) each celebrating their birthdays before it’s revealed that Kate and Kevin are biological twins, Randall is their adopted triplet brother, and Jack is their father—the show time-hopping between present day and yesteryear.

For his 36th birthday, Randall, played by 2019 Emmy nominee Sterling K. Brown, finally finds the father who abandoned him as an infant (cue Ron Cephas Jones). Now three seasons in, Cephas Jones is still wowing television audiences (and voters). This is his third Emmy nomination for his role on the series—and he won in 2018.

But before Cephas Jones portrayed the poet, musician, and overall cool cat that is William, he found his sealegs in theatre.

The actor has led an overwhelmingly successful career Off-Broadway and around the U.S., having performed at such reputable institutions as Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre, New York’s Second Stage Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Public Theater (notably as the title character in Richard III).

He made his Broadway debut in 2004 in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and took a six-year hiatus from the Main Stem before returning in The Motherf***ker With the Hat starring Chris Rock. In 2014, Cephas Jones delivered a touching performance as farmhand Crooks in the revival of Of Mice and Men.

And, Cephas Jones has passed his talent and passion for acting on to his daughter, Hamilton’s Jasmine Cephas Jones.

Tune in to the 71st Annual Emmy Awards September 22 on Fox.


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