First there was radio, then came TV -- complete with her own, self-titled talk show, naturally -- and, earlier this month, Wendy Williams added yet another book to her growing catalog of published works. Soon, though, the 48-year-old multimedia superstar faces what might be her greatest challenge to date: Broadway!
Beginning June 25, Williams makes her debut on the Great White Way as part of the Tony Award-nominated cast of Chicago. For seven weeks, running through Aug. 11, the mogul will play everybody's favorite incarcerated "mother hen," Matron "Mama" Morton.
"I am excited to bring my version of Matron 'Mama' Morton to Broadway," Williams gushed during a recent telephone interview. Despite her abundant enthusiasm, she acknowledges the role does present significant obstacles.
"Well...," Williams confessed somewhat hesitantly, "I'm not a singer."
Quite the understatement perhaps. Even the most faithful Wendy Watcher (the name given members of her TV viewing audience) surely cringed when the talk show queen joined Kandi Burruss and other Real Housewives of Atlanta to karaoke TLC's "No Scrubs."
Still, Williams is convinced she can pull off the role.
"'Mama' is less about singing and more about the attitude," asserts Williams. Sure... Why doesn't somebody tell that to Queen Latifah, whose powerful performance of show-stopping "When You're Good to Mama" in the 2002 big screen adaptation garnered an Academy Award nomination?
That aside, if there's truth to her claims, Williams certainly has attitude to spare. And, to support her excessive swag, the newly svelte celeb - she recently dropped 20 lbs.! -- started work last week with a vocal coach to prepare for the strenuous performances. Says Williams: "I'm taking this very seriously!"
"The vocal coach won't be able, necessarily, to teach me how to sing well," she explained, "What the vocal coach will do is teach me how to pace my voice so I'm prepared for eight shows, six nights a week - while I'm still doing the talk show."
Indeed, Williams' syndicated gabfest posted strong gains during the key February 2013 ratings sweeps period. As a result, the show returns next fall for its fourth season.
In the meantime, Williams' new advice book Ask Wendy hit retailers in early May. To support the collection of fan-submitted questions, and the New Jersey native's trademark straight-shooting solutions/responses, she is making personal appearances around the country.
On Friday, May 24, Williams lands in the Bay Area to headline Pride Night 2013 at the Santa Clara, CA-based California's Great America theme park. There she will answer questions previously submitted by the night's largely LGBT audience - and auction off two autographed copies of her new book for charity.
"I told them if they had a problem, I'd do my best to provide a solution," Williams says of soliciting questions for Pride Night.
"I take my advice very seriously," she notes. "There's no question off-limits, and they will not be laughed at - at least not by me."
Wendy Williams joins Alex Newell ("Unique" from TV's GLEE), chart-topping dance diva Luciana ("I'm Still Hot," "We Own the Night"), international DJs/producers The Perry Twins and more for Pride Night 2013 at California's Great America on Fri., May 24, 5pm-2am. This is an all ages, 21+ to drink event. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the gate.
To purchase tickets, visit: http://www.CAGreatAmerica.com/PrideNight