Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Michelle Williams talks about 'Fela!,' Destiny's Child
NUNN ON ONE Extended for the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2013-02-13

This article shared 5638 times since Wed Feb 13, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Tony Award Winning Fela! the musical returns to Chicago and this time Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams is along for the ride.

Produced by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Jada Pinkett Smith, Fela! follows the life of Nigerian singer Fela Kuti, who battled AIDS and government soldiers while performing at a nightclub called The Shrine in Lagos. Bill T. Jones wrote the book and choreographed the show that was nominated for eleven Tony Awards the year it debuted Off-Broadway.

Singer and Illinois native Michelle Williams plays Sandra Isadore, Kuti's lover.

After conquering the charts in the trio Destiny's Child she released two gospel recordings, collaborating with Shirley Caesar on one track. She moved into the dance realm with the album Unexpected, and the song "We Break the Dawn" became a club hit.

Her musical background continues to grow after appearing in Aida and The Color Purple for its national tour.

Williams took on television as an HIV-positive executive on the UPN sitcom Half & Half and also appeared on Fox's Celebrity Duets.

We talked to the independent woman before her arrival for Fela!

Windy City Times: Hey, Michelle. You have had a busy week.

Michelle Williams: I know, honey. Actually, it has been a busy couple of weeks.

WCT: From where are you calling?

Michelle Williams: I'm in Washington, D.C.

WCT: You are performing Fela! there?

Michelle Williams: Yes. We opened here in D.C. last week so I was able to do two shows; then I had to sneak down to New Orleans for rehearsals to prepare for Super Bowl Sunday.

WCT: You must be excited to come back to Illinois, being originally from Rockford.

Michelle Williams: Yes I am. I'm so excited to be doing the show in Chicago. I love when my family gets to come, especially in the theater. I feel inspired all over again because that is where it began for me—in Illinois. It is a way for me to encourage other young people that if I can do it and love what I do. I encourage everyone to do it as well.

WCT: How did you become involved with this show in the first place—anything to do with Jay-Z?

Michelle Williams: No, I was introduced to Bill T. Jones this summer. I had auditioned for another show that he was directing so they also called me to ask if I could do Fela that was touring. I said, "Absolutely!" So that is how that happened.

WCT: How do you relate with your character, Sandra?

Michelle Williams: Sandra is bossy but in a good way. She just saw potential in people and wanted them to reach it. That is the same way with me. My sisters called me a sergeant. Every time I would come home, I was bossing. I was trying to encourage everyone to get it together.

WCT: I saw the show last time I played in Chicago. It is not a sit-down type production; it is a "get up on your feet and dance around" [show].

Michelle Williams: Yes. I love the part when Fela has people get up out of their seats to do the song "Clocks." I cannot wait. I will be peeking out of the curtain at the audience to see if my mom can wind her hips. Wind it, mommy!

WCT: Fela! is more like a concert.

Michelle Williams: It really is. I think people are quite surprised. I saw it on Broadway and also on opening night in London. The audience didn't expect for people to come through the audience. In the beginning some of the dancers walk through the aisles and people are like, "Aren't they supposed to be onstage? Are they supposed to be out here?" Now that I am in the show I understand why it's done that way. It's because it's people that were picked to be at the last show at The Shrine in Nigeria. I can hardly wait for my family and friends to see it.

WCT: I spoke recently to his son, Femi, who is still out touring.

Michelle Williams: Femi was here in D.C. on the 25th. I didn't get to see him but he was here doing a concert.

WCT: Where else are you touring to after Chicago?

Michelle Williams: Charlotte, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Philly, L.A., Seattle. I think I even saw some cities in Mexico. Hopefully, I will get to go to Moscow and South Africa when they do the international dates.

WCT: You are no stranger to musicals. I saw you in The Color Purple last time it was here.

Michelle Williams: Thank you. Since then I have performed in the musical Chicago on the West End and on Broadway; then I toured with it, also. I got caught up in theater and almost forgot I was a music artist. That is why I recorded this album. There is just something with theater that makes me happy!

WCT: Had you done many musicals when you were younger?

Michelle Williams: Well, you know how in school where they have the gifted program. You had to audition to get into the school for the Creative and Performing Arts program called CAPA. I am a proud CAPA alumni. Two of my good friends that have danced for Cher, Madonna and Janet Jackson all came out of the Auburn High School in Rockford. Their names are Kevin and Marcel Wilson. They are dynamic dancers so I am proud. We all came out of that program and we are doing what we love.

WCT: You guest-judged on RuPaul's Drag Race not too long ago.

Michelle Williams: That was just hilarious. Those girls were serious—work!

WCT: You have been working on some anti-bullying projects as of late, I read.

Michelle Williams: It is an organization called NVEEE, or National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment. It is based out of Florida. I understand what it is like because I was bullied growing up in school. It is something that I absolutely have a low tolerance for.

WCT: There is so much cyberbullying and even bullying on the subject of Destiny's Child on who is the most famous and talented.

Michelle Williams: It just comes with the territory. Once you put yourself out there in the public, anyone can critique and criticize. You just have to decide what you are going to ingest. Some of it can be constructive and some of it is downright evil. Do people really think they are going to destroy me or have me quit music because of a comment they made? That is what they want. No; you have to keep going. We focus on those miniscule comments instead of the one thousand people that said that they loved you.

WCT: You are right. Why is that?

Michelle Williams: I don't know. I just don't understand.

WCT: Do people mix up your name with the actress Michelle Williams?

Michelle Williams: They do so I am going to start going by Michelle T. Williams. Actually, Tenitra is my first name. This happens all the time, and I think we had the same accounting firm at one point. It was getting to be way too much.

WCT: When are you putting out new solo music?

Michelle Williams: Hopefully around June.

WCT: How hard was it to keep the Super Bowl appearance a secret?

Michelle Williams: It was so hard. I had to lie, lie, lie. At the same time I was promoting the musical Fela, the Destiny's Child rumor came out. We were trying to keep it a surprise. Beyonce didn't want anyone to know about it.

WCT: Will you be going back out on the road as a group?

Michelle Williams: We will see. I know we have a new song called "Nuclear." I know it wasn't an official single but we wanted a new song to put on the compilation CD that came out a couple of days ago.

WCT: Let's play the Nunn's Name Game. One word about Kelly Rowland…

Michelle Williams: Giver. She is a big giver.

WCT: Beyonce?

Michelle Williams: Loving. I love knowing that side of them. I have been around them the past couple of days. It is just a joy to know them personally and be proud of all of what they are doing.

Dance to the afrobeat until the break of dawn with Williams Feb. 19-23 at the Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.felaonbroadway.com .


This article shared 5638 times since Wed Feb 13, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Lollapalooza expected to return July 29-Aug. 1 2021-05-14
- The Lollapalooza Festival will return to Chicago with a four-day event at its usual place and date range — Grant Park, July 29-Aug. 1—according to Variety. The City of Chicago gave the event the green light ...


Gay News

Ann Hampton Callaway releases 'Revelation' 2021-05-12
--From a press release - The latest in a string of singles, Ann Hampton Callaway, releases "Revelation", a song she composed to a Robert Frost poem which she kept in her jeans pocket when she was a teenager. Callaway wrote the ...


Gay News

Tina Turner, The Go-Go's among 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees 2021-05-12
- The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame revealed its 2021 inductees, calling this class "the most diverse list of inductees in the history of the organization." In the Performer category, inductees include The Go-Go's, Tina Turner, ...


Gay News

Jody Watley: Conversation with an icon 2021-05-09
- Singer Jody Watley has been many things during her illustrious career, including an activist, fashion plate—but, most certainly, a musician. Among her many achievements in that latter area are a Grammy win; a Lifetime Achievement Award ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tig Notaro, films, E. Lynn Harris, Nick Jonas 2021-05-09
- Emmy- and Grammy-nominated stand-up comedian Tig Notaro (HBO's Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted), will return to HBO this summer with the first-ever fully animated stand-up special, HBO announced. The special ...


Gay News

Citadel Theatre to return in fall with a four-show 2021-22 season 2021-05-08
--From a press release - LAKE FOREST, IL - Citadel Theatre Company will return to live, in-person, indoor performances in September with a season of four productions — three plays plus the company's traditional holiday musical - according to Artistic Director ...


Gay News

Ravinia Festival announces 2021 summer programming 2021-05-06
--From a press release - HIGHLAND PARK, IL — The Ravinia Festival, under the direction of its new President and CEO Jeffrey P. Haydon, announced the concert schedule for 2021 today, celebrating the reopening of the park for the first time ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot, DCASE announce Chicago summer events 2021-05-06
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Choose Chicago, and Chicago's cultural community today announced "Open Culture" — the next phase of ...


Gay News

Northalsted plans to hold Market Days Aug. 6-8 2021-05-04
- The Northalsted Business Alliance plans to host Market Days August 6-8, adding a Friday night edition, the first in its 38-year history. As vaccinations increase and Illinois begins planning for stage 5 reopening, organizers of the ...


Gay News

Heather Headley to headline Goodman Theatre's May 22 virtual gala 2021-05-03
- Goodman Theatre announced that Tony-winning Broadway actor and Grammy Award-winning singer Heather Headley will headline the company's "Together Center Stage" virtual 2021 gala fundraiser. "Together Center Stage" is slated to stream Saturday, May 22, ...


Gay News

Jeannie Tanner show at City Winery on May 20 2021-05-03
- On Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m., City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., will host the first in-person performance of "3 Martini Jeannie." Throughout the pandemic, every Friday at 5 p.m., Tanner celebrated the close ...


Gay News

Vintage House show honoring Chicago House Music with DJ Lori Branch May 5 2021-05-03
--From a press release - Chicago, IL. May 3, 2021. Paving the way for every DJ behind her, DJ Lori Branch is continuously receiving flowers for her talents and dedication to music. Currently, through May, Spotify (spotify.com/chicago) billboards highlighting Chicago music ...


Gay News

Windy City Smokeout to return July 8-11 2021-04-29
- The outdoor country-music/BBQ festival Windy City Smokeout will return to Chicago on July 8-11 outside the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St. Hosted by BBQ joint Bub City and the venue Joe's Bar, the event will ...


Gay News

Pride in the Park' on June 26-27 2021-04-29
- There will be at least one big LGBTQ+ event in Chicago this summer. Pride in the Park is slated to take place June 26-27 in Grant Park. It will be 2-10 p.m. on June 26, and 3-10 p.m. the following day. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Joe Exotic' series, Luther Vandross, singer's announcement, star couples 2021-04-25
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell has been tapped to play the title character opposite Kate McKinnon in the series Joe Exotic (working title), Deadline reported. The limited series centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.