The Young and the Restless soap opera character Tonya Lee Williams leads a diverse cast in Vision TV’s original new comedy series, She’s the Mayor, which premieres on March 4.
It tells the story of Iris Peters, an elderly former elementary school principal-turned-mayor of a mid-size city that has seen better days. A political neophyte with a motley band of supporters and a habit of talking first and thinking after, Peters tries to bring her own brand of discipline to city hall while fighting her feelings for a handsome and roguish deputy mayor.
Williams plays Peters’ glamorous and self-involved communications director.
“Tonya is so funny and good in this part it’s simply hilarious,” said former Share photographer Sudz Sutherland who, with his wife, Jennifer Holness and documentary filmmaker Min Sook Lee, created the comedy series. “She’s not known for comedy, but she’s one of the funniest people I know.”
Williams, who won a Miss Junior Personality contest at age 14 and was crowned Miss Black Ontario four years later in 1977, did comedy for 15 years before switching to drama.
She landed small TV roles and worked in Canadian theatre for a few years before heading to Los Angeles 24 years ago in search of a major acting role. She’s best known for her role as Dr. Olivia Hastings on the daytime drama, The Young and the Restless, which she has been associated with since 1990.
“We pursued her aggressively because she’s an actress in demand and she’s busy with The Young and the Restless,” said Sutherland who founded Hungry Eyes and Television Inc. “She’s very excited about this project.”
She’s the Mayor was selected from 280 submissions that Vision TV received in response to a call in 2009 for comedy-drama series proposals.
“There are not a lot of shows for women of a certain age,” said Sutherland. “That was one thing we thought of when we were making our pitch and the time came for us to put together a script that was judged to be the best.”
Former Canadian PM Kim Campbell, the province’s Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine and Justin Trudeau make cameo appearances in the 13 half-hour series that begins at 8.30 p.m. this Friday on Vision TV.
Sutherland and Holness previously collaborated on the award-winning feature film, Love, Sex & Eating the Bones, the TV movie Doomstown and the acclaimed mini-series, Guns.