MORRISTOWN — Vanessa Williams, one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today, performs at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Friday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for MPAC’s Opening Night celebration are $49-$99.
Vanessa Williams has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television.
Her albums “The Right Stuff,” “The Comfort Zone and “The Sweetest Days” earned multiple Grammy nominations and have yielded such classic hits as “Save the Best For Last,” “Dreamin,” “Work To Do,” “Love Is,” the Academy Award-winning single “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s “Pocahontas,” and many others.
In 1994, Vanessa took Broadway by storm when she replaced Chita Rivera in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” winning the hearts of critics and becoming a box-office sensation. In 2002 she garnered rave reviews and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as the Witch in the revival of “Into the Woods.” She also headlined a limited special engagement of the classic, “Carmen Jones,” at the Kennedy Center and starred in the Encore! series staged concert production of “St. Louis Woman.” Other roles include Songheim on Sondheim and The Trip to Bountiful.
Vanessa made her film debut in 1986 in “Under the Gun” and has starred in features such as “Eraser,” “Hoodlum,” “Soul Food,” “Dance With Me,” “Light It Up,” “Shaft” and “Johnson Family Vacation.”
On television, Vanessa starred in ABC’s critically-acclaimed hit series, “Ugly Betty,” earning three Emmy nominations as the deliciously wicked Wilhelmina Slater. She received an Emmy nomination for her voice-over performance in the 2009 PBS series, “Mama Mirabelle Home Movies. In 2010, she moved to Wisteria Lane to stir things up as the newest resident on ABC’s long-running hit, “Desperate Housewives,” winning an NAACP Image Award helping to carry the show to the end of its 8-year run in 2012. Vanessa played Olivia, the stylish wife of the devilish Gavin (Terry O’Quinn) in the ABC supernatural drama “666 Park Avenue” and starred in “Daytime Divas” on VH-1.
In April 2012, Vanessa and her mother Helen landed on the New York Times Best Seller list with their acclaimed memoir You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other). The book brought readers on the personal journey of Vanessa’s life – told for the first time from her perspective and with the wisdom and frankness of her mother, the firecracker Miss Helen.
In the beginning of 2016, Vanessa launched V. by Vanessa Williams, an exclusive collection of comfortable, mix-and-match pieces available exclusively at EVINE Live. The line features interpretations of personal pieces from Vanessa’s own wardrobe in a combination of timeless, flowing silhouettes, feminine patterns and luxurious fabrics.
In 2007, Vanessa achieved a career pinnacle, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer. In December 2010, the International Foreign Press Academy named Vanessa as the recipient of the 2010 Mary Pickford Award For Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry. The award honors her international achievements and success in film, television, stage and recording over the past 28 years. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics, The Eye Bank and many others.
Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2018-2019 season is made possible, in part, by a grant the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Mayo Performing Arts Center was named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatres, and is ranked in the top 50 mid-sized performing arts centers by Pollstar Magazine.