Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) has announced that renowned singer, actress, author and fashion designer, Vanessa Williams, will serve as Woman of the Year for the 33rd Annual Black & White Ball, with The Howard Hughes Corporation as the Presenting Sponsor.
As a Tony Award, Grammy Award and three-time Emmy Award nominated performer, Williams’ dedication to the performing arts through her varied and esteemed career, as well as her unwavering philanthropy to numerous charitable causes, will be celebrated on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at ARIA Resort & Casino, CityCenter, as part of the 45-year-old ballet company’s largest annual fundraiser and one of the city’s most highly-anticipated social events.
Williams has stood at the forefront of the entertainment industry for twenty-eight years. As a singer, she graced the top of the charts, selling millions of records around the globe and delighting audiences on the stages of Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination for her performance as the “Witch” in Into the Woods. As an actress, she has starred and appeared in numerous films such as “Eraser,” and “Shaft” as well as the 1998 dance film “Dance with Me,” showcasing her ballroom and Latin dance acumen. Williams also enjoyed popularity in iconic TV shows such as Ugly Betty, for which she received three Emmy Award nominations, Desperate Housewives and The Good Wife among many others.
“Vanessa Williams is a well-respected artist whose versatile career path and longevity is one to be admired,” said NBT Board Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair Nancy Houssels. “Growing up immersed in music and dance, Vanessa’s ambition and drive forged an amazing career that has touched every facet of the entertainment industry,” added Houssels. “As our 2017 Woman of the Year, we will celebrate not only her artistic talents, but also her giving spirit as evidenced in her work with charities such as Special Olympics, where she has served on the board for over 20 years.”
As the Presenting Sponsor of NBT’s 2017 Black & White Ball, David R. Weinreb, Chief Executive Officer of The Howard Hughes Corporation, will serve as the event dinner chair. Weinreb and Williams have a lifelong friendship that began when they were in grade school and includes their time together as star leads in their high school stage band. Additionally, The Howard Hughes Corporation has a special relationship with NBT whose company headquarters are located in Summerlin® on land donated in part by The Howard Hughes Corporation.
“We are honored to have the support and participation of The Howard Hughes Corporation this year,” said Houssels. “We are so grateful for our long-standing relationship with the company.”
“What an honor to be acknowledged for my artistry at this year’s Black and White Ball by NBT,” said Vanessa Williams. “Dance has been a part of my life from the very beginning. This event will be the culmination of my love for the arts and the achievements in my career that I can reflect on.”
Now in its 33rd year, NBT’s Black & White Ball hosts an array of VIPs, celebrities, dignitaries and arts supporters for one of the most exciting events of the Las Vegas social season. Garnering media attention locally and nationally, this star-studded affair boasts an impressive list of arts and entertainment icons who have served as its Woman of the Year including: Chita Rivera (2002), Celine Dion (2004), Paula Abdul (2007), Twyla Tharp (2008), Marie Osmond (2009), Bette Midler (2010), Eva Longoria (2012), Florence Henderson (2014), Debbie Allen (2015), and most recently Olivia Newton-John (2016).
As a consummate and ever-changing artist, Williams continues to extend her talents into new industries; in 2012, she made her debut in the literary world with the New York Times Bestseller “You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other)” which she co-authored with her mother. In 2016, she launched her first clothing collection, “V. for Vanessa Williams” for digital retailer and television network, EVINE Live.
Funds raised from the Black & White Ball support a variety of endeavors including professional company ballet productions at NBT’s world-class performance home, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; quality dance instruction within its affiliated school, the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre; and dance programs and initiatives for at-risk youth through its Education and Outreach Programs that serve over 20,000 students a year.