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Hear this: Vanessa Williams sings Saturday at Prelude for Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Vanessa Williams says money is the key to show business success.

“As long as people know you are bankable, you can do anything,” says the actress and pop music star, who performs Saturday night at Prelude by Barton G. at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. “It’s all about the almighty dollar. They’ll put you in anything if they think you can make money.”

Williams quickly adds: “The test is to be good.”

Clearly, she’s good. And busy. Williams now co-stars on ABC’s hit series Desperate Housewives, which earlier this month won her the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Comedy Series. Beginning May 31, she’ll perform eight shows in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.

“I look forward to sharing my music again in Japan in the hopes that it will lift some spirits and bring a bit of distraction to the grim reality you are all facing,” Williams, 48, writes on her website to the Japanese people, along with a Red Cross message for earthquake and tsunami relief.

Closer to home, Williams has performed benefits for U.S. charities including Dress for Success; Amas Musical Theater, a multicultural performing arts group; and The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group for gay youth.

Saturday night, the one-time Miss America takes center stage for two fundraising concerts benefiting the Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation at the University of Miami Ear Institute. In addition to the Prelude performance, Williams sings at a sold-out $1,000-a-person gala at The Villa by Barton G. on Ocean Drive.

Restaurateur-hotelier Barton G. Weiss has a personal stake in Kids Hear Now: daughter Jadin was born in 2006 unable to hear. “She was 3 weeks old in hearing aids,” says Weiss, whose foundation last year donated $5 million to UM’s Miller School of Medicine, where Jadin underwent successful cochlear-implant surgery.

“Now, I see a healthy 4-year-old who’s bilingual. Not only is she speaking English, she’s speaking Spanish,” Weiss says. “She never stops talking.”

IF YOU GO

Vanessa Williams appears Saturday night at Prelude by Barton G. at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Remaining tickets $200 plus tax and tip. Click here or call 305-357-7900.

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