Valarie Pettiford Starts a New Chapter in Her Career With a New Film, Two New Roles on Television, And a New Album
Valarie Pettiford, star of the hit sitcom Half & Half and last year's box office success Jumping the Broom, is often referred to as a veteran of stage and screen, but this beautifully polished performer has never been off the front line.
With a new film, Battlefield America, which opens theatrically on June 1, 2012, a recurring guest starring role on HBO's Treme this fall, and the release of her second full-length album, a collection of original lullabies called 'Velvet Sky' in September, Pettiford is turning the page and entering new chapter of her illustrious career. The talented triple-threat has focused her attention on her acting and singing.
Kicking off her whirlwind simmer, Pettiford joins Lynn Whitfield and Marques Houston in the cast of Battlefield America, a dance film which tells the story of a young business man who hires a dance instructor to turn a group of misfit kids into a dance crew for an underground competition.
Pettiford plays Ms. Williams, the unimpressed mother of one of the youngsters who doesn't want her child to dance.
A Fosse-trained dancer, Pettiford, whose career as a dancer and star of Broadway, with credits that include her Tony-nominated turn in the musical revue Fosse and on London's West End in Chicago with Chita Rivera, was excited to be part of this film.
"I live for dance movies! I grew up on them. This was an amazing project," shared Pettiford. "It's always wonderful to see young dancers taking their craft so seriously, and these kids were so dedicated and very talented. They were dancing their behinds off! This is a whole new generation of dancers exploring dance on film."
Fans of HBO's New Orleans-set drama Treme will be seeing more of Pettiford when the show returns in September. She will be joining the cast in a recurring role, playing the deliciously catty Victorine Fornerat-Williams.
She will also be seen in a recurring role on ABC Family's new series, Bunheads, as the artistic, yet sensible Violet. This is a return to the small screen for Pettiford, who is most recognized for her larger-than-life portrayal of Big Dee Dee Thorne on the sitcom Half and Half.
However, newer fans recognize her from her film work, which includes her role as Aunt Jackie in Stomping the Yard, and as the brazenly bold Aunt Geneva in last year's box office success, Jumping the Broom, in which she performed a rousing rendition of "Sexual Healing" to her stuffy sister's (played by Angela Bassett) dismay.
"I've been blessed to be able to create some really memorable characters," says Pettiford. "And to work with some of the most talented and amazing people; both on stage and on screen, and it's an honor to be recognized by fans. That's what I love about being a performer; knowing that I've entertained an audience."
As well as her prowess at acting, Pettiford is also an accomplished singer. She will release 'Velvet Sky', a collection of original lullabies, on September 18, 2012. This will be her first album since the 2003 release of her debut CD, Hear My Voice.
The lullabies on the new album were written especially for Pettiford by Ron Abel, Chuck Steffan, Jamie Wooten and Michael Orland, produced by Tony Rader. They range from songs that inspire game-play between parents and their babies to songs that are simply to lull babies (of all ages) to sleep.
"I am very proud of this project. It was a real labor of love," enthuses Pettiford. "Ron and Chuck were writing together, while Michael and Jamie were writing together - and then they switched partners! They created the most amazing lullabies for me to sing. I think people, especially parents, will really connect with this music, which will help them connect more with their babies."
Valarie Pettiford Official Website