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Ten Minutes With Vanessa Williams



Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams burst onto the national stage as Miss America 1984. Her career has continued to soar—as singer, stage actor, and TV star. Her latest role—immediately on the heels of Sondheim on Sondheim on Broadway and four years of “Ugly Betty”—is on the superhot “Desperate Housewives,” on ABC, which began its seventh season September 26. The Westchester native talked with us recently.

What do you think of your character? She has floated into the life of each girl on the show. She’s ruffled some feathers, which is always fun. She’s establishing herself as there to stay.

Do people like her? People are entertained by her. She’s kind of, ahh, passive-aggressive. A bit bothersome, but also candid. The Bea Arthur of the “Golden Girls,” I’d say. Her dry comments really land.

The show’s promotional pictures have you front and center, so clearly they want you as a major part of the show. Yes, that was both unexpected and lovely. A nice nod from the network.

How is it to enter a long-running show? It’s like being the new girl in the school. They all have their own history and relationships, but they were all very welcoming. We’re all kind of the same age range, and they appreciated what I bring to the show. They really care about their show.

Do you miss “Ugly Betty”? Oh, yeah. They were my peeps. That was my show. There was nothing like it. I was so happy to be part of it. I miss the cast and am actually going to Becki’s baby shower next week.

Any other Broadway gigs coming up? I am hoping to be able to do the Sondheim production in London, during my hiatus with “Desperate Housewives” in the spring.

What’s it like doing the Sondheim show with Sondheim there? It was fantastic. Since he turned 80, it was like the Sondheim World Tour, with benefit after benefit. It was his show, and it is great to work with him. He’s a great storyteller and a great historian. A fascinating man.

You’ve been an entertainer now in many genres, dabbling in everything from recorded music to Broadway, television, and movies. Which of these do you feel is closest to your heart? I am very happy that I can dabble in as many as possible. Theater is the most satisfying. You do it with incredibly talented ensembles. And doing it on a nightly basis, in front of a live audience. You are able to be in control of what you come up with, seven days a week. It’s so exciting.

What do love to do when you are back here? I love riding. I took riding and jumping twice a week, and my girls did it, too. My fantasy was to have a horse when I grew up. My girls got to do it, and I started myself about 12 years ago. That’s one thing I really miss. I am definitely local when I’m there.

How important was it to return to Syracuse and get your degree in 2008? I wanted to be a good example. My parents both had Master’s. My brother has a degree. I just think it’s important to finish college, and I thought I should show a good example.

Web Bonus: Watch the Desperate Housewives Season 7 promo trailer featuring Vanessa Williams

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December 2017

Meet friends and neighbors at the KMA for a spectacular afternoon of assemblage art, costume-making, and dancing. Work with artist Stacy Scibelli to transform mixed-media materials into wearable...

Cost: $5

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
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Website »

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An epic reflection on The Book of Revelations’ recounting of the Apocalypse, featuring a rare live performance of Oliver Messiaen’s monumental Quartet for the End of Time....

Cost: $25, $20 (Friends), $10 (Students)

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, CT  10549
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Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

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Choral group Camerata d’Amici is proud to present its Christmas concert “This Christmastide” on Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 4 p.m. at the South Salem Presbyterian Church, 111...

Cost: Adults: $25 at door ($20 in advance) / Youth 18 and under: $10

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
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Sponsor: Camerata d'Amici
Website »

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Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
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Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

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Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

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Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. Come to this orientation to learn...

Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 Post Road
White Plains , NY  10601
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Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-993-3710
Contact Name: Lini Jacob
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Wednesday, Dec.13. This festive holiday concert features the Bedford Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Anthony Newman, performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Mr. Newman, a renowned Bach expert...

Cost: $45 per person

Where:
St. Matthew's Church Fellowship Hall
382 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY  10506
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Sponsor: Music Committee of St. Matthew's
Telephone: 914-522-5150
Contact Name: Anthony Newman
Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

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Music on the Hill presents the Festival Chorus and Jubilate Ringers handbell choir in a traditional Christmas concert, with artistic directors Ellen Dickinson and David H. Connell. The concert...

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

Where:
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
36 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Stroller tours at the KMA are a unique opportunity to connect with other new parents and caregivers seeking culturally enriching activities to share with their babies. These once-a-month...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Clay Art Center One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
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Website »

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Get ready to rock the holidays with the one and only Rob Mathes, now in his third decade of holiday performances at The Performing Arts Center. This annual celebration featuring the multi-talented...

Cost: $45 to $72.50

Where:
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY  10577
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Sponsor: The Performing Arts Center
Telephone: 914-251-6200
Contact Name: Jenifer Howard
Website »

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This December, one of New York’s preeminent vocal ensembles, TENET, brings light and joy to one of the longest nights of the year in a heartfelt program of intimate carols to celebrate the...

Cost: $20, $35, $50, $65

Where:
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Caramoor
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Contact Name: Caroline Andrews
Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Get ready to rock the holidays with the one and only Rob Mathes, now in his third decade of holiday performances at The Performing Arts Center. This annual celebration featuring the multi-talented...

Cost: $45 to $72.50

Where:
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY  10577
View map »


Sponsor: The Performing Arts Center
Telephone: 914-251-6200
Contact Name: Jenifer Howard
Website »

More information

Show More...
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