One on One: Payton Williams and Lucas Pepke

Our one on one conversation this month features two men who are passionate about music and the possibilities of theatre.

One on One

Photos by Beau Gustafson

Payton Williams, owner of Cahaba Music in Cahaba Heights, started playing guitar 28 years ago. “I fell in love with it back then and have never been able to put it down. I spent the last 15 years as a medical device sales rep, but I’ve always done lessons. And I’d try to play any venue I could in town,” Williams says.

He opened up his shop last November and teaches acoustic instrumentation—everything from ukeles to upright basses. “The experience of owning my own shop has been great. The income level is not the same but the joy of getting up and doing what I was put on this earth to do—play and teach music—is indescribable.

“If you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life,” Williams says.

Lucas Pepke loves the theatre and music. His background at Virginia Samford Theatre is extensive, and he has worked as a cantor with the Eternal Word Television Network.

Born in the Netherlands, Pepke and his family moved to Birmingham in 1992. He graduated from John Carroll Catholic High School and attended Berea College before earning a music degree from Birmingham-Southern College.

Next up at Virginia Samford, Pepke will play the role of Jesus in one of the most popular and enduring works ever created for the musical theatre, the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Propelled by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s explosive score and featuring such notable songs as “Superstar,” “Everything’s All Right,” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” the musical earned five Tony nominations.

Pepke performs in the musical, which is directed and choreographed by Carl Dean, from November 7 to 17, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.


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