The Triumph of NaTasha Yvette Williams: A Long-Awaited Tony Nomination After a Storied Career on Broadway

May 31, 2023 : Natasha Yvette Williams recently received her first Tony nomination for her captivating portrayal of Sweet Sue, the fearless boss and band leader in the Broadway musical “Some Like It Hot.” Despite her talent and experience in eight Broadway shows over 17 years, Williams had missed out on previous nominations due to various circumstances.

In 2006, Williams could have been eligible for a Tony nomination for her performance in “The Color Purple” as a first replacement, but the category was removed before nominations were announced. Similarly, her opportunity for a nomination in “A Night With Janis Joplin” was thwarted when she broke her foot the night before the audience arrived, disqualifying her as she didn’t perform on opening night.

In another instance, the competition for nominations in the year of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” was fierce, leaving no room for additional nominees. Williams remained ineligible for recognition in shows like “Chicago,” where she took on the beloved role of Mama Morton for an extended period.

However, everything changed with “Some Like It Hot,” a thrilling adaptation of the 1959 film. Set in 1930 during Prohibition, the musical revolves around Sweet Sue’s determination to establish her all-girl band and travel the country. Unbeknownst to her, two of her newest musicians hide from the mob after witnessing a murder. The show’s messages of love and acceptance resonate deeply, accompanied by dazzling dance numbers and toe-tapping tunes.

Portraying Sweet Sue is a delicate balancing act for Williams. She embodies joy, a love of music, and the desire to make her band succeed while ensuring their safety. As an African American woman leading a band during Prohibition, she navigates the challenges of the period while attempting to shield her bandmates from their weight.

Williams appreciates the strong bond Sweet Sue shares with her band members, relying on their support as much as she guides them. The show’s deliberate attention to detail, such as Sweet Sue’s response to heading south in 1933, adds depth and authenticity to the characters and their circumstances.

When the Tony Award nominations were announced, Williams and the cast of “Some Like It Hot” performed on the Today Show. She was in the restroom when she heard the screams of excitement and realized they had received another nomination. Then, her category was announced, and she heard her name, an overwhelming moment that surpassed her dreams and expectations.

For Williams, performing is pure magic, providing a sense of acceptance and escape from insecurities. She cherishes being part of a vibrant show like “Some Like It Hot,” which celebrates inclusivity and welcomes all. Following the challenges of the pandemic, the show offers an opportunity for people to come together, laugh, and feel a sense of belonging.

In summary, Natasha Yvette Williams’ Tony nomination for her role as Sweet Sue in “Some Like It Hot” marks a long-awaited recognition for her talent and dedication. The musical’s powerful messages and the sense of unity it fosters make it a timely and uplifting experience for audiences.