Story by Carrie Beth Wallace
Images courtesy of RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
On December 5, Vanessa Williams will perform live for a national audience in a concert live-streamed from The Schubert Virtual Studios on Manhattan's West Side. The concert is to be the third and final of The Shubert Organization's Live from the West Side series which has played to audiences across the world via livestream this Fall.
Williams' concert will feature a mix of her pop hits, Broadway show tunes, jazz standards and holiday songs with an instrumental combo.. The Broadway superstar and American icon said she's eager to get back to performing after her most recent engagement in Josie Rourke's City of Angels in London's West End was suddenly forced to pause due to COVID-19.
"I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to perform right now," Williams said in a press conference. "So many of my colleagues in the performing arts industry have had engagements cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to have the joy and a blessing of performing live right now. It's something I do not take for granted. I'm so excited to get back on the stage again and to share such a wonderful program with so many people across the nation."
Photo by Gilles Toucas.
The concert will be available locally through a partnership between the Shubert Organization and RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. RiverCenter has participated in live-streaming both of the previous concerts in the Shubert's Live from the West Side series. The first featured Patti LuPone on October 24, and the second featured Laura Benanti on November 14.
“With the interruption of performances caused by COVID-19, RiverCenter was searching for a way to continue our mission to present performances by world-class artists, and we felt this series met all of the criteria” said Norman Easterbrook, RiverCenter's Executive Director. “Anyone who is a fan of Broadway appreciates the star power of this series, and we were confident in the ability of The Shubert Organization to successfully deliver performances with very high production values. The ability to access these shows through a streaming platform, plus the 72-hour on demand window, offers a convenient and safe way to continue to enjoy the theatre.”
It's helpful to know The Shubert Organization created this concert series to provide assistance to non-profit theaters around the nation who have been dramatically affected by the pandemic. Their goal was to provide a product local theaters could stream and utilize as a source of much needed income this season. Thanks to The Shubert Organization, a portion of local ticket sales from each concert goes directly toward RiverCenter's Recovery Fund.
Vanessa Williams is known for her versatility and holds numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel and Jazz. Her work in film, television, recordings and on the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate. Throughout her career, Williams has received 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards. Her platinum single "Colors of the Wind," from Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
In addition to her work performing, Williams has spent much of her career as an advocate for causes close to her heart. Most recently, this has included serving as one of the founders of Black Theatre United which promotes awareness, accountability, advocacy, and action regarding the role of black artists in American Theatre.
"Serving on the board of Black Theatre United has been one of the greatest joys of my life," said Williams. "I am so proud of my colleagues and very thankful to be able to serve as an advocate for something so important in our industry. There's lots of work to be done, but we're doing it, and we'll keep doing it together."
Williams' concert on Saturday will take place at The Shubert Virtual Studios on Manhattan’s West Side. At-home audience members will be invited to email in questions to be answered during the livestream. Williams said she was looking forward to experiencing this new format along with the audience.
"I was fortunate to get to speak with my friend Laura Benanti about her experience doing her Live from the West Side concert last month," said Williams. "She absolutely loved it and said the ability to take questions from the audience was wonderful and very fun. I'm really looking forward to it!"
Williams had a few more things to say to her audience before the show... Watch her message to you below!
Tickets for Vanessa Williams: Live from The West Side are on sale now, and are priced at $30. While the RiverCenter box office is still not conducting in-person transactions, tickets are available by phone at 706-256-3612, by email at email@example.com. or online at rivercenter.org. ◼︎