“Some Like It Hot” NaTasha Yvette Williams Talks Tony Nom

Regardless of how she performs at next Sunday’s Tony Awards, NaTasha Yvette Williams is thrilled to be part of a Broadway project that will allow her to “rise and be a powerful role model for others.”

The actor and singer delivers in “Some like it hotis now playing at New York’s Shubert Theatre. How 1959 movie Some Like It Hot, on which it is based, tells the story of two Prohibition-era musicians, Joe (played by Christian Borle) and Jerry (J. Harrison Ghee), who dress up in drag and join an all-female band A Journey Across across the country to escape Chicago after witnessing a mob attack.

Williams is a Tony nominee for Best Actress in a Musical and plays the cheeky but caring leader of the band, Sweet Sue. Although Sweet Sue was a supporting character in the film, the role was expanded significantly for the stage adaptation, which features songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The character opens the show with a rousing jazz number, “What Are You Thirsty For,” and has a prominent role in “Tip-Tap Trouble,” a highly intricate act two dance sequence.

NaTasha Yvette Williams (center) plays Sweet Sue in the musical "some like it hot" now on Broadway.
NaTasha Yvette Williams (center) plays Sweet Sue in the musical ‘Some Like It Hot,’ now on Broadway.

“I just feel celebrated and it’s an amazing feeling,” Williams told HuffPost. “I’m a tall black woman who’s sometimes funny and sometimes serious. [and] A lot of women come up to me after the show and say, “Wow, it really gave me a great feeling to see you up there dancing and moving and being in control.” They see that full figured woman in me and knowing that I don’t have to limit myself to standing still in the corner or being in the back.”

Along with Williams’ nod, “Some Like It Hot” earned an additional 12 Tony nominations — including best musical and a historic award for ghee that’s non-binary — making it this season’s winner most nominated theater production.

The original film Some Like It Hot, starring Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe, is considered one of the most popular romantic comedies of all time. Still, the film features an all-white cast, and its references to queer romance — while groundbreaking for the time — seem hopelessly outdated by 2023.

For her part, Williams thanks the book authors of the series: Matthew Lopez and Amber Ruffingoing “very concretely about diversity and inclusion” to bring the 64-year-old’s story within reach for a contemporary audience, noting, “I love that in the theater people feel good about every body and every skin. “”are in.”

“I love that theater makes people feel good no matter what body and skin they’re in,” said Williams (center, with co-stars Adrianna Hicks and Angie Schworer).

Williams, who grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, made her Broadway debut in “The colour purple‘ in 2005. Since then she has been a fixture on the New York stage, appearing in ‘Porgy and Bess’, ‘Chicago’ and ‘Waitress’, as well as plays such as ‘Chicken & Biscuits.’ She has also had numerous television and film appearances, including Madam Secretary, New Amsterdam and the Disney+ film musical Better Nate Than Ever.

When she’s not performing, Williams has been working on a passion project for the past decade. She has written a screenplay entitled Beyond the Diamond, which dramatizes the life of a baseball legend Mommy “Peanut” Johnsonwhich became the first in 1954 female pitcher in the negro leagues.

Although Williams is still working to secure a production team for Beyond the Diamond, she is “very pleased” with the project’s progress so far.

“I just feel celebrated and it’s an amazing feeling,” Williams said of her 2023 Tony Award nomination.

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“I want to highlight the strength of a woman and how any challenges you face can be overcome if you stay focused on your goal,” she said. “Focus on your goal and yes, challenges will come and things won’t be easy, but you will conquer them if you stay focused.”

For the foreseeable future, Williams’ main focus will be “Some Like It Hot,” delivering the full-throttle performance of Sweet Sue eight times a week. Ultimately, she wants the awards she receives for this achievement to remind viewers that “there are no limits.”

“It just feels incredibly rewarding to have this post-pandemic experience and on a show that I really love and care about,” she said. “I’ve been out here a long time, so this is going to be a collective, community Tony.”

Williams (right) poses with her "Some like it hot" Starring Kevin Del Aguila, J Harrison Ghee and Christian Borle.
Williams (right) poses with her Some Like It Hot co-stars Kevin Del Aguila, J. Harrison Ghee and Christian Borle.

Jenny Anderson via Getty Images

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