Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: André De Shields, Ted Lange, Woodie King, Jr. and Dr. Maya Angelou at the National Black Theatre Festival

After a sold-out run of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s off-Broadway production of Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe in New York, castmembers Ted Lange and André De Shields will play very different roles when they meet up in the M.C. Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. on August 3, for the Opening Night Gala and Awards Banquet of the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF).

André De Shields, Lia Chang and Ted Lange at the opening night party for the Classical Theatre of Harlem's Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe at The Clurman on June 25, 2009 in New York.

André De Shields, Lia Chang and Ted Lange at the opening night party for the Classical Theatre of Harlem's Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe at The Clurman on June 25, 2009 in New York.


The National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF) is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1979. The Festival, which runs from August 3 -8 this year, was also founded by Hamlin and has been held biennially since 1989.

Ted Lange, along with Wendy Raquel Robinson, are the celebrity co-chairs of this year’s festival. Robinson is best known for her role on The Steve Harvey Show. Her career includes many television and film appearances. Lange is best known for his role as the bartender, “Isaac Washington” on the long-running television classic The Love Boat. A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he has written seventeen plays and garnered multiple theatrical awards.

André De Shields and New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr., two men who have been instrumental in my artistic growth, are among the 2009 NBTF Awards recipients this year.

New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr. will receive the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang

New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr. will receive the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award. Photo by Lia Chang

My first experience with the Festival was in 1991, when Woodie King, Jr., the founder and producing director of New Federal Theatre, brought Jerome Preston Bates, Iris Little, Denise Burse, Lorey Hayes and myself to Winston-Salem to do a reading of Hayes’ Powerplay.

Woodie King Jr’s New Federal Theatre has presented over 200 productions in its 39-year history. Mr. King has produced and directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in Regional theatres, and in universities across the United States. He co-produced For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf (first produced by NFT and Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre), What The Wine Sellers Buy, Reggae and The Taking of Miss Janie (Drama Critics Circle Award). This year, Woodie King, Jr. is the recipient of the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award.

André De Shields will receive the Living Legend Award. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields will receive the Living Legend Award. Photo by Lia Chang

Living Legend Award recipient André De Shields is an actor, singer, dancer, acclaimed novelist, choreographer and college professor.

The two-time Tony Award nominee has appeared in numerous Broadway, Off Broadway and regional productions as well as television and film. On Broadway, he appeared in the original casts of Michael Jacobs’ Impressionism, starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons,The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On!, The Full Monty and Prymate. He also conceived, co-wrote, directed, and starred in Haarlem Nocturne.

In 2007, he won the coveted OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance. His television credits include Cosby, Sex and the City, Law & Order, Lipstick Jungle and Life on Mars.

Mr. De Shields is having a banner year – he is currently rehearsing his role as Teiresias for The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of The Bacchae in New York; in September, he’ll embody Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama in his solo show Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance, at the Yard in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard; and in November will star in David Mamet’s two-hander A Life in the Theatre, directed by Robert O’Hara at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Ga.

The Opening Night Gala and Awards festivities will begin with a vibrant parade of powerful African drummers and dancers, followed by a grand procession of your favorite celebrities of television, film and stage, including Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Kim Wayans, Vanessa Williams, Hawthorne James, Roger E. Mosley, Ella Joyce, Melba Moore, John Amos, and LaChanze.

Special guest Dr. Maya Angelou, who served as the Festival’s first national chairperson in 1989, will speak on the importance of the NBTF and its founder, the late Larry Leon Hamlin.

Hamlin’s wife, Sylvia Sprinkle Hamlin, emphasizes “My husband would be pleased to know that Dr. Angelou is going to be an integral part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Festival, because it was largely due to her support that his vision for the Festival became a reality.”

Below is a complete list of the award recipients
SIDNEY POITIER LIFELONG ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Woodie King, Jr.

LARRY LEON HAMLIN PRODUCER AWARD
Vy Higginsen

AUGUST WILSON PLAYWRIGHT AWARD
Celeste Bedford Walker

LLOYD RICHARDS DIRECTOR AWARD
Ed Smith

LIVING LEGEND AWARD
André De Shields
Fatima Dike
Paul Carter Harrison
Joan Lewis
Robert Macbeth
Barbara Montgomery
Juanita Moore
Melba Moore
Clarance (C. Lee) Turner

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM
Julie Dash

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Reggie Ray

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN LIGHTING DESIGN
Shirley Prendergast

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SCENIC DESIGN
Felix Cochren

THEATRE LONGEVITY AWARD
Berkeley Black Repertory Group
Berkeley, CA

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
LaChanze, Tony Award winner for her role as “Celie”
in the Broadway production of The Color Purple

The second part of this Marvtastic evening will be a full production of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, a high energy musical using jazz, the spoken word, gospel and dance to weave segments of the African American experience. This production is produced by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company and directed by Broadway veteran and Artistic Director, Mabel Robinson.

For information on ticket packages, call the Festival Box Office at (336) 723-7907, Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

For a schedule of events, call the Festival office at (336) 723-2266, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or check out www.nbtf.org.


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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
A night out with Gordana Rashovich, Flora Goforth in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
André De Shields Set for World Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Indiana Rep, 3/22-4/10
Photos:The Working Theater’s Off-Broadway production of HONEY BROWN EYES by Stefanie Zadravec at The Clurman
Lia Chang Photo Slideshows of Productions in the Working Theater’s 25th Anniversary Season
Multimedia: Photos of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s American Jornalero at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
Multimedia: Photos of André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance
Photos: A.B. Cruz III and Lillian Kimura Receive 2011 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
Sloan Robinson in Bananas: A Theatre Cabaret Based on the Life of Josephine Baker at The Schomburg
Elizabeth Van Dyke Stars in Love to All, Lorraine at Dwyer Cultural Center
The River Crosses Rivers Opening Night Photos
New Federal Theatre founder and director Woodie King receives award for community service in communications arts from Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications
Photo Call: Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau
Dionne Warwick and Woodie King Jr. honored by AMAS Musical Theatre in New York
Celebrating Woodie King
Juicy Buns at Ollie’s
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
Photo Call: Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe
Playbill.com: Photo Call: De Shields and Lange Star in Off Broadway’s Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe
Impressionism Ends Broadway Run
Andre De Shields in Impressionism
NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Allow Actor-philosopher Andre DeShields to blow your mind.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE The Impressionist: André De Shields

PLAYBILL.COM’S CUE & A: André De Shields
André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory from Douglass to Deliverance

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister Plays has World Premiere at McCarter Theatre
Dionne Warwick and Woodie King Jr. honored by AMAS Musical Theatre in New York
Zooman and The Sign Opening Night Party
Charles Fuller’s Zooman and The Sign at Signature Theatre through 4/26
Celebrating Woodie King
Andre De Shields and Reg E. Cathey Star in Cato at The Flea
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe Reviews
Broadwayworld.com
NY Times Weekend Listing
Show Business Weekly
FT.com
TimeOut.com
Curtainup.com
VillageVoice.com
New York Times
Theatremania.com
Backstage.com
Lightandsoundamerica.com
NYPost.com
Variety.com

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One comment on “Lia Chang: André De Shields, Ted Lange, Woodie King, Jr. and Dr. Maya Angelou at the National Black Theatre Festival

  1. V.E.G.
    August 23, 2014

    Ted Lange is best known for Love Boat. His last name is not African alone, but it came from a landowner. (His real African family name is lost.)

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