Actor Valarie Pettiford, star of the hit sitcom Half & Half and last year's box office success Jumping the Broom, will star in the new film Battlefield America, which opens theatrically today June 1, 2012, She will also take on a recurring guest starring role on HBO's Treme this fall. With 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 career.
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.