UNO Creatives: Fame’s in the Name for Shemar Toussant


Eddie Okosi

Staff Writer

One thing I can’t bother to sugar coat is the fact that college life is a busy life. After a couple adjustments and potential meetups, I finally had the pleasure of talking to Shemar Toussaint. Toussaint, who also goes by Mar and uses he/they pronouns, was a cast member of UNO Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods.”

In the acclaimed musical, Toussaint played the character of The Mysterious Man, who is the Baker’s father.

“The Mysterious Man was such a character,” Toussaint said.Toussaint said he didn’t have an ideal character they wanted to audition for.

“I met a lot of great, talented people during the audition process,” Toussaint said.

They knew getting a callback was imminent, but didn’t know which part they were going to play. Eventually, Toussaint was casted as the Mysterious Man.

“Everything worked out in the end, the universe had my back,” Toussaint said. “The Mysterious Man was a very demanding character; a lot of time was put into it, and I loved every single minute of it”


How are you right now? You must be tired from the show run you just had.

I’m just tired, my body is doing this thing where it wants to get sick, but it’s not letting me get sick, maybe because I got some things to do so I gotta keep going. I’m really excited for this break, a time to just unwind and just focus on work. Nonetheless, “Into the Woods” was such a fun journey. I feel like a lot of time was needed there but the love and the people I did the show with made the whole experience feel worthwhile. The whole thing went so fast, though.

So, the production was sold out, I couldn’t even get in, so embarrassing for me. What is it like knowing that each date you did the show, the audience was at full capacity?

It was really scary. Coming from high school, we literally had to bribe people to get them to the theater seats. Now I am at a place where the production had such a big community outreach where we are selling out every single show. That was exciting. We made sure each show was top tier, it needed to be the show of the show! We made sure the show was worth the money. I was speechless when I heard the news that the play sold out for the entire run.

The whole ordeal is just astonishing! Many congrats. What was the preparation like for your specific character? Did you rewatch the movie looking for inspiration? I’m curious to know your specific process.

It’s crazy that in the movie, the Mysterious Man didn’t have a big existence, he was just known as the baker’s father. So, as I was trying to find the core of the Mysterious Man, I watched online videos of the “Into the Woods” Broadway productions. Also, this may be weird, but I also observed older people and how they moved and that’s something that really inspired my own movement. Like watching my grandma around the house; preparing for the character was not as hard as I thought it was going to be.

You know in relation to character study, you hear all these stories of actors trying the practice of method acting. It’s a very controversial technique. Would you ever resort to method acting, or do you find it easier to switch on and off?

That’s a good question. I feel like with method acting obviously I am so young, I’m 21 now, I got casted at 20. I can’t just feel like an old man because I don’t know what that’s like personally. I do have knee pain, but you know — having that balance to turn your character on and off is very healthy for actors, because we get so into our heads where we feel like if we are not doing it right, we are not giving enough, and I feel like that is 100% incorrect. If what you are giving is all that you are allowed to give to a character on a given day, that’s just enough.

What was the behind-the-scenes experience like? I just know y’all had a blast.

Yeah, it was so much fun, I really found some good friends from doing the show. During rehearsal though there were a lot of moments when we didn’t have time to see each other until we were running the show in full. But during the one-on-one sessions I made connections with the people around me. I cherish the TikToks we created, and the funny little jokes we would make, and singing in the green room. Every single time I left that environment, I always had a smile on my face.

Do you see yourself more as an on-stage actor, to on-screen actor — or do you see yourself as both?

Both. After college I want to start to go into film acting so I could get that experience. But on the side, I still would love to do stage acting, because that’s my core, that’s my home, and I can’t erase that.

What kind of parts do you see yourself playing?

It’s a definite wide dynamic pool for me. I would love to be in an indie coming of age film. We need to bring back films like “Clueless” and “Legally Blonde” for the new generation. I want to have a catchphrase that people will remember 20 years from now. The sky’s the limit!

The world is your oyster.


You know, with representation and acting, there are always boxes artists are put into. How are you going to break the mold and take on the roles you want to play?

For me, it’s being 100% myself. Going in and proving to others that I have what it takes. I don’t care how or when, but I am going to be that actor that breaks this stigma with the acting world because it is ridiculous. I’m already proving to people what I can do by being production like into the woods, I just want to keep going to show other African Americans that you can do whatever you set your mind to and to be able to see themselves in me. Till I have fully completed that mission I will never be done with acting.

That’s wonderful! Did you choose acting or did acting choose you?

It kind of goes both ways. When I was younger, I would always repeat what the actors on TV would say, and my mom would always say I should be an actor. I was always hesitant because I was afraid. I would not take things seriously. As I got older, people would say I am always entertaining, and there was this one time at my job where this lady asked me my name, and I said, “My name is Sheymar Toussaint.” She was like, “you have a star name, do you want to be an actor? You have a name that is not forgettable” I was like, ok then, wow!

What power does having the ability to perform give you?

This may sound weird, but I get power from the people. When I am in front of the audience and I perform, I get love. It validates that for me. It’s like, I put all this hard work into this process, and it paid off and it’s valid. It’s a weird in-between, because you can’t perform without that good energy from my environment and that’s what I love about it.


Mar has such an infectiously positive outlook on life and is on a mission to go where they want to go. Be on the lookout for Mar anywhere a screen, stage or theater is available — they are going places.