Actress and singer Michelle Williams stars as temptress Lena Summer in David Talbert’s provocative new play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know.” Williams' character is a woman who has a glamorous life but doesn’t realize she’s not fulfilled in her marriage until a young foreman, played by actor Brian White, arrives in town.
The Chicago native has been acting for eight years. Even as the group Destiny’s Child soared, Williams was making a name for herself in the theater circuit, most notably in "Aida," "Chicago" and "The Color Purple." Williams is not afraid to take on characters that stretch beyond her comfort zone; “I get to act out some of my alter egos,” she points out.
The ever so down-to-earth Williams invites us into the world of the new play, discusses her respect for Nicki Minaj, and reveals which male celebrities she thinks are eye-candy.
Tell us about your character Lena Summer in "What My Husband Doesn’t Know."
Playing Lena will give the audience a closer look at my acting. I play a woman that has an affair on her husband. I get to act out some alter egos, as Lena is a seductress. Lena is sassy but grounded. She wants to be loved. She’s smart and an amazing mother. She has a lot of depth to her, but she’s also on an emotional rollercoaster.
Do you think women are more clever with hiding affairs than men?
[Laughs] Shame on you! Yes we are, because men leave signs. Men don’t realize: If you are going to have an affair on your woman, you have to keep the other lady happy. If you don’t keep that other woman happy, she will tell the main one. Men can be dumb. [Laughs] I love men—can’t live with them or without them.
Your voice is amazing. How do you keep it strong?
Thank you. Not anything too major unless I am preparing for a show. I get proper vocal rest. Though I’ve recently increased my water intake. Being a singer is like being an athlete: No matter how gifted you are, you still must keep yourself strong.
Do you miss Destiny’s Child? Any hope of a reunion tour?
I miss the collaboration. I miss us getting our hair and makeup done as a group. I miss Kelly being so chipper in the morning, and I’m not a morning person. Sometimes we would have to side-eye each other and be like, “Girl, it’s way too early in the morning for that.” [Laughs] I doubt any reunion tours will take place. But no matter what we make sure we have our girl time.
Name a few male celebrities you find attractive.
My co-star in "What My Husband Doesn’t Know" is Brian White, and he’s gorgeous. Johnny Depp is so cute that he doesn’t even have to say a word; just close your mouth and smile. I think Common is attractive. 50 Cent is handsome, and I like seeing him when he is dressed up in his suits. He’s very dapper.
Musically, who are the strongest artists right now in your opinion?
I love Nicki Minaj. I saw an interview she did and she spoke about naming what you want and working for those goals. Nicki said, "If you name the things you want out of life, then you can attain what you desire." I admire Nicki Minaj’s statement because she’s walking the walk. I copied the statement and it’s on the wallpaper of my laptop. Even though I’ve been working for years, you might get comfortable or down and then you remind yourself to keep working and going for what you want. Also, I love Chrisette Michele; she’s great.
Sometimes people only want others to be as successful as they want them to be; the moment you become bigger than they would like, they are no longer comfortable. Does this ring true in your life?
Oh, yes! Long ago that happened to me. I can’t help that though. Haters should step their game up and have some expectations for themselves. That could be people from your hometown or people who thought they had more talent than you. Of course there are more people qualified to do what we do, but God chose us for a reason.
It's Black History Month. What is your favorite Black film?
I have two favorite films. "Coming To America" because it’s a hilarious film. Every time I watch the movie, I watch it as if it’s my first time. I absolutely love "Lady Sings The Blues." It’s a sexy film. It shows a good authentic legendary story. I love Billie Holiday.
When the curtains are down, what would people be surprised to know about you?
I like to be barefoot with boxers and a tank top. I like to read. I’m constantly on iTunes. I’m a down-to-earth person and people are unusually surprised by that given all of my successes.
"What My Husband Doesn’t Know" kicks off Friday, February 4th in South Carolina. Go to DavidETalbet.com for more info on tour dates and cities.