NaTasha Yvette Williams returned to the Waitress stage as Becky on 16 September and is getting ready to celebrate with an extra special birthday concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below on 25 September. In honour of being back on Broadway and her show at the cabaret venue, NaTasha stopped by’s #LiveAtFive to talk about all of her exciting projects.

“We’re going to invade the space. There will be some show tunes, some jokes and pranks. Jordin Sparks and Caitlin Houlahan are going to come and bring some of our Waitress magic. It’s a midweek hump day party.”

For NaTasha, doing concerts requires an extra push from her loved ones to step out of her comfort zone. “I just love to get up and sing, but it’s always scary to me. Deciding what to sing was easy. I just returned to Waitress and my mother had passed three days before my original opening so it brought back a lot of emotions. The show was so healing for me and my birthday is here and everything’s changing, just like the show says. I’m doing songs that are a part of my childhood, my middlehood, my marriage and motherhood. It is the things that give me relief, relaxation and redemption.”

Before making her Broadway debut in The Color Purple in 2007, NaTasha spent her time in education. “I was a double major in speech communications, theater arts, and math education. I was an educator for just a year after school but I didn’t really know about Broadway until college, and when I started to get on stage I knew I found my people. Ragtime was my first Broadway show I saw after moving to the city. At intermission, I ran down to the payphone and called my mom crying, saying, ‘This is what I want to do. This is why I’m here.’ I had this feeling of, ‘Oh my god, this is everything.’ And I still get that feeling.”

Since that pivotal moment, Williams has gone on to appear in several Broadway productions and has even made Broadway history twice. In 2017, Williams played Mama Morton to Brandy Norwood’s Roxie Hart and Lana Gordon’s Velma Kelly in Chicago, marking the first time all three characters were played by women of color. Recently, when Jessie Hooker-Bailey went on in Waitress as Dawn, she was joined by NaTasha as Becky and Jordin Sparks as Jenna to once again make history as the three waitresses were played by women of colour. “It does feel like I’m making history,. But I feel like every day that we’re here and able to do anything positive we’re doing that. It was an incredible realisation for me that 20 years ago, I didn’t see any of that on stage. I saw Audra McDonald and saw Adriane Lenox and Lillias White and LaChanze and all those people are so much a part of my journey. But it was always one or two in the whole show. Being able to have people come and see three women of color on stage is a big deal for any other woman of colour. And I hope it’s a big deal for all of us because there’s room for all of us. Stories don’t have color. Life doesn’t have colour. To think that someone is sitting out there as I was when I ran down to that payphone to call my mom, that’s why I do what I do.”