*It seems like David E. Talbert has been making audiences and readers alike say “Omigoodness!” and “No she didn’t!” for years. And the brother is back at it again with the new stage play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know.”
It features the talents of Michelle Williams (formerly of Destiny’s Child, the Color Purple the Musical), Brian White (Men of a Certain Age, Stomp the Yard), Ann Nesby (Sounds of Blackness), and Clifton Davis.
The acclaimed novelist and playwright has assembled an all-star cast that will travel coast to coast, wowing audiences along the way, with drama, some extremely funny moments and just a smidgen of soulful singing.
EURweb.com recently had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the cast members. Lee Bailey took the lead with former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams. The sister with the heavenly hue had this to say regarding any perceived notion of her inability to pull it off.
“I’ve been at it for 8 years. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was by accident,” said Williams of her theatrical career. “In 2003 I was approached to do the Disney production of ‘Aida’ in New York, which was great. Sometimes, when you plan on having a successful singing career, you won’t put theater in the mix. Some people won’t do theater until after one portion in their career has gone down a little bit. But I have been able to continue doing theater in the midst of still having been in Destiny’s Child. I’m no longer in Destiny’s Child, but even after that, in the midst of my solo career, I have always said that in between albums I would do theater. So, it’s been working out pretty good.”
“I’ve always loved (theater) and when I would go to New York I would see those flashing lights and I would always wonder what it would be like to be in a production like that,” she continued. The cast of “What My Husband Doesn’t Know” will be hitting the road tomorrow, Friday, February 4. Williams says she is very excited at the idea of bringing a David E. Talbert creation to life.
“My role is Lena Summers. I am the leading character in the show. She’s got the amazing house, her husband is successful, she’s not working and she misses the attention of her husband. You know, sometimes when we want attention we may do some things that are not necessarily in our character but I love the fact that it is paying attention to the woman because it is important. Men get such a bad rap and now we’re showing a woman making a mistake and having to be redeemed for it.”
At this point as an actor, does Michelle think she has the chops to pull off a character with such potential?
“Absolutely! I was Roxy Hart in the London production of Chicago and on Broadway and that was a pretty, pretty big part. I would say that Roxy and Lena are head to head as far as what I’ve done,” she explained.
Next to vibe with us about his role in the film was actor Brian White. He’s one of those actors that you have seen in quite a few things but just couldn’t quite put a name to the face. Well, we’re here to put a name to him for you. What we didn’t know is he’s the son of former Boston Celtic great JoJo White and a former professional athlete himself whose career was ended by multiple injuries. Who knew?
“When one door closes another door opens. Everything that I do, in some sense, prepares me for the next step. I always envisioned myself as being a lawyer actually. With my father being a professional athlete and being into sports as a kid, sure I always dreamed of being a pro athlete, too. My parents, and Boston as a community, is about school first. So, you don’t really have a choice as to whether you graduated college at 21 or 22 years old. That’s just what you did.”
Well, it’s certain the brother has drive, talent and a good head on his shoulders, but he also credits his parents’ feet as well.
“My parents started kicking my butt,” he continued. “So, when I started being recruited for college I wanted to go to a school where I could focus on the academics and focus on sports. I ended up being signed when I (graduated) by the New England Patriots and the Blazers (of the National Lacrosse League). Then I tore my hamstring. Then I tore it again and it kept getting worse and worse. I kept trying to come back and bounced around from team to team. I did that for about two years. I got hurt again and ended up on Wall Street for a while because I thought since I went to an Ivy League school. I went from doing something that I loved to doing something that was all about money.”
Believe it or not White was discovered in a very cliche manner. It was one of those situations like ‘Hey young man! You look like an actor. Wanna be one? I can make you a star!’ And the rest is history unfolding before our eyes.
“All good acting starts in the theater,” said White. “No good actor worth their salt doesn’t do theater. For example, Denzel doing ‘Othello.’ Or Laurence Fishburne or Meryl Streep or whoever. Especially European actors. In America it’s come to be all about the films, but everybody I’ve ever admired as an actor or an artist has always gone back to theater because there nothing is fake. The audience is right there are there are no do-overs. You’re doing this for somebody who is standing two feet away from your face and after the show is going to be down in the lobby asking questions.”
Another one of the show’s leads is singer/actress Ann Nesby. We remember her from the Grammy Award winning collective Sounds of Blackness. She has also been featured in works by Tyler Perry as well. We asked Nesby how she felt about the offering.
“This is an awesome, awesome production. It represents what so many families go through when you have family secrets and you have to wait until you get to the family reunion so you can ring that secret out of that aunt or uncle. You have to ring that secret out and bring them back,” said Nesby.
As a married woman we wondered whether the play’s subject matter caused Nesby to have second thoughts about participating.
“It’s a situation where you can run into it any day during your lifetime,” she continued. “I didn’t have those thoughts but there are people out there that have to pause and ponder ‘is there anything going on out there that my husband doesn’t know about?’ I think this show will allow some people to unveil some things with their partners and children and be honest about.
Nesby’s role is very critical to the development of the main character played by Williams.
“I play a very grand 65-year-old mother who is very concerned about keeping my daughter on the up and up, using my experiences to share with her so that she doesn’t make any of the mistakes that I have made in my life.”
That’s some tuteledge we all could use more of. As we previously stated “What My Husband Doesn’t Know” is slated to hit the stage this Friday and features a cast that also includes the talents of Orlando Wright. For more information on where you can catch them, log on to www.davidetalbert.com.