Broadway star, entertainer, actress, recording artist, model—Vanessa Williams does it all. We caught up with the Hollywood beauty to discuss her work ethic, happiness and upcoming performance at the StarStruck Theatre Gala in Stuart on March 3.
How were you introduced to StarStruck Theatre?
[Marshay Williams] introduced me [and] my team to StarStruck. In 2008, I was introduced to the Sphinx Organization and, at the time, [Williams] was the director of leadership investments. While planning “Sphinx Presents! The Sphinx Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall,” in 2011, [Williams] invited me to be the event chair. Since that time, she moved to South Florida and maintained our lines of communication. She always has her antenna up, so to speak, when it comes to connecting people and opportunities. … I grew up in a musical household. My parents were music teachers. I studied classical jazz and dance, French horn, piano and violin.
You’re involved in so many projects, while also being a mother to your four kids. How do you juggle those responsibilities?
Well it’s definitely a juggling act, that’s for sure. But it’s always very important for me to be there for my kids just as my parents were there for me and my brother, Chris. Whether it was for school projects, plays, summer activities, field trips—my parents were always there. I’ve found the most essential key … to avoid possible scheduling conflicts is to keep my family and business calendars up to date and posted on the refrigerator door.
As an artist with many talents, which medium do you feel the most connected to?
The Broadway stage for sure. Nothing compares to live theater. I love the energy in the house night after night. You never know what to expect—every performance is different and so is every audience.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
When you are happy, it resonates in everything you do both personally and professionally. But I would say that motherhood has given me the most satisfaction in my life. Watching my children grow up and become successful in their own right brings me great joy and happiness.
StarStruck Theatre has a long list of accomplishments. What is outstanding to you?
When I learned of StarStruck’s very close relationship with Stephen Schwartz—the Stephen Schwartz—talk about instant credibility. For those who may not know, he is the renowned American musical theater lyricist and composer responsible for “Godspell,” “Pippen,” “Children of Eden,” “Wicked,” and “The Prince of Egypt.” … Additionally, Freddie Gershon, CEO of Music Theatre International, said he “wish[ed] [StarStruck Theatre] could be replicated throughout America on a grander scale.” … I am proud to join them and have a part in shining a spotlight on StarStruck Theatre.
Our world is ever-changing, especially technologically. True talent, however, stands the test of time. What should aspiring artists never forget?
Aside from having talent, you must also have a great work ethic. You need to show up on time and be prepared, no matter what you do. That’s how you get hired again. And don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and be creative. You may think you’re on one path, but you never know what’s waiting around the corner. Always be prepared.
What are you looking forward to the most during your trip to the Treasure Coast?
Connecting with the audience the evening of March 3. Not only will they see how I’ve grown, and continue to grow, as a result of the love and support I’ve received from my family and community … our children will take the stage. No doubt, they will be among tomorrow’s Broadway stars and are deserving of our love and support as they grow and develop. To quote Mark Rodgers, who is not only the agent to Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, he is a StarStruck parent, “Let’s not let it go away!”