Vanessa Williams Loves Playing Wilhelmina Slater
And she should. What a great role, and she looks to be having a complete blast while playing Wilhelmina. She talks about playing a diva role:
“I think people who know me in that (“Diva”) role enjoy seeing me do another version basically every week,” Williams says.
Though Williams is best known for her singing career and dramatic acting work, she insists that the comic editrix is no stretch, noting with only slight exaggeration that she has “always played either witches or vamps or divas.”
From “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (her first role on Broadway) to the old witch in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” Williams believes Wilhelmina Slater is a natural extension of the over-the-top personalities she played onstage.
“It’s the same kind of dynamic where it’s evil, it’s provocative, it’s a bit naughty, and that’s the joy, being able to be so free,” she says. “I really don’t have to be contained in terms of what she does or how far she’ll go.”
“She doesn’t really care what other people think, that’s the thing that makes her funny,” Williams says. “Her looks, her attitude, the way she treats people are all perfectly justified in her own mind.”
Favorite scene: “When Marc and I were caught in Queens, and I had to approach the gals on the corner (when they grab Wilhelmina’s fur coat) and tell ‘em to ‘stop pawing my piece unless you’re gonna show me some Benjis.’ We were cracking up the whole time.”
I can’t wait to see what Wilhelmina gets herself into this fall.