Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-11-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

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

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 .


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

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chorus present Merry, Merry Chicago! concerts 2019-11-14 - CHICAGO—Symphony Center celebrates the 2019 holiday season with programming that offers a wide range of musical experiences perfect for audiences of all ages ...


Gay News

The Joffrey Ballet's reimagined classic The Nutcracker begins Nov. 30 2019-11-14 - CHICAGO ( NOVEMBER 12, 2019 )— The Joffrey Ballet's critically-acclaimed reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to open ...


Gay News

Artemis Singers part of LGBTQIA+ improv show 2019-11-14 - In a return engagement, members of Artemis Singers, Chicago's lesbian feminist chorus, will perform as part of the Friday, Dec. 6, Dreamboat LGBTQIA+ ...


Gay News

Caucus launches The Prosperity Project 2019-11-13 - Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus has launched The Prosperity Project—a three-year campaign to eliminate HIV among Black gay, bisexual and same-gender-loving men in ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Out singer, 'Hamilton,' 'Sense8,' Dolly Parton, Shangela 2019-11-12 - LGBT singer Michael Longoria released a music video for "Kiss Me ( Like They Do In The Movies )," an original song written ...


Gay News

Singer Greyson Chance in Chicago Nov. 29 2019-11-08 - Out musician Greyson Chance will be performing at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., on Friday, Nov. 29. Doors will open at ...


Gay News

Val's halla Records to close by Nov. 30 2019-11-06 - Iconic Oak Park store Val's Halla Records will close by Nov. 30, The Chicago Tribune reported. The business has been open for 47 ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Rachel Weisz, John Waters, Jeff Goldblum, Lady Gaga 2019-11-05 - Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz will play Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor for female directing duo Bert & Bertie and UK-Australia producing powerhouse See-Saw Films ...


Gay News

'Chicago Celebrates Sondheim!' Nov. 16 2019-11-05 - The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., salutes composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who celebrates his 90th birthday this season, with a one-night-only ...


Gay News

City of Chicago Announces 2020 Festival Dates 2019-11-05 - 2020 initiatives highlight the "Year of Chicago Music," Chicago's Music Legacy and thousands of public programs in downtown Chicago and across the city's ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

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.