You could call Vanessa Williams a part-time Floridian during March. The singer-actress visited Stuart at the beginning of the month for a gala to raise funds for a children’s theater, The StarStruck. On Friday, Williams was back, speaking on a panel at the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit at the Hilton Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood. After a brief break back home to Chappaqua, New York, the 52-year-old former beauty queen and mother of four will travel down south yet again for a March 22 date at The Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. Williams’ Broadway Concert Series features Sirius XM radio personality Seth Rutdetsky on the piano.
You interacted with a lot of kids while you were in Stuart for the charity event. What do fans usually say when they meet you?
It’s nice to tap into young people’s energy and see the excitement for the future. After doing so many different things in my career, at 52 now, it’s just good to see the light in their eyes. At the summit, people want to know how I juggle family, career, success, fame, obstacles and keeping it all together. They also ask me about my daughter Jillian [Hervey], who is following in my footsteps as a singer and who accompanied me to Florida, along with my mother.
OK, so you’re 50-something, but look fantastic. How are you feeling these days?
I’m good. I take good care of my voice. I feel really lucky to have my background and training as an actor and a dancer and a singer. I majored in musical theater at Syracuse [University], and studied dance my entire life. Your body is your instrument. It’s also a reflection of being healthy. I continue to work to be in tip-top shape. I think the people who have incredible longevity in this business have to be consistent with their craft. Show up, be on time, that type of thing.
We hear you’re costarring in Star Jones’ TV adaptation of her 2011 book, “Satan Sisters,” roughly based on her time at “The View.” How did that come about?
Star, who was also at the women’s summit, called me about the project and said I was her first choice to play [imperious TV anchor] Maxine. After I read the book, it was a no-brainer. Star’s a woman I really respect, and the material is going to be really funny. We have a guaranteed 10 episodes from VH1 and start shooting in Atlanta in July, even though the series is set in New York City, so not sure how that’s going to go.
Can you talk about what to expect from the show at Parker Playhouse?
It’s a great format. Seth’s at the piano, playing and telling stories. I’ll sing my pop hits like Save the Best for Last and Colors of the Wind, as well as my musical-theater stuff, like a song from Kiss of the Spider Woman, which was my first starring role on Broadway. There may be even some of my early audition tunes. Seth’s energy is, you know, crazy! We’ll do a number together at the end. It’s guaranteed entertainment.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show on March 22: parkerplayhouse.com, 954-462-0222.