Award-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph guest stars on Smash this Tuesday in the role of mother and manager to Jennifer Hudson’s Veronica Moore character.
When Smash returns to NBC on Tuesday, February 26 for the Season 2 episode, “The Song,” accomplished stage and screen actress Sheryl Lee Ralph plays the “mom-ager” of Jennifer Hudson’s Ronnie who struggles to gain independence from her powerful mother.
No stranger to musicals, Sheryl Lee Ralph played Deena Jones in the Broadway adaptation of Dreamgirls to land Best Actress nominations from the Tony and Drama Desk Awards. And since Jennifer Hudson broke out as an actress in the Dreamgirls film in 2006, the pairing of Ralph and Hudson on Smash as mother and daughter is a musical dream for the two talents.
Ahead of Smash and “The Song,” The Deadbolt briefly caught up with Sheryl Lee Ralph to learn more about her on and off screen dynamic with Jennifer Hudson.
THE DEADBOLT: In taking on a role like this, what did you like about the dynamic between mother and daughter?
SHERYL LEE RALPH: It was the fact that the two of us – you know how it is sometimes when you’re a strong mother and you raise your child? Then your child one day turns around and your child is everything you raised them to be. Sometimes you have to rethink really quick [the notion of] how do you hold on to what you raised?
I loved that dynamic between the two of them. And even when things get a little bit testy, there’s still that foundation of love. I was so thankful to have a character and a relationship written like that, especially for women of color.
THE DEADBOLT: Can you talk a bit about working with Jennifer Hudson and your initial thoughts of her as a talent?
RALPH: Let me tell you something. I walked into my dressing room, and inside the room was the hugest, grandest, most beautiful arrangement of flowers I have ever seen. In fact, it was so big that either the flowers had to go or I had to go.
When I opened the envelope and saw that they were from Jen, I walked over to say thank you and she looked at me and said, “Ms. Ralph, you don’t have to tell me thank you for anything because you are all that I ever want to be.” I was like, “Oh, my god!” It just made me feel – I can’t even explain it. I was like, “Wow, what a moment! What a moment!”
Smash airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on NBC.