Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: André De Shields Celebrates Black History Month starring in The Working Theater’s Production of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory at The Abingdon in February 2010

André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance. © Lia Chang

André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance. © Lia Chang

In celebration of Black History Month 2010, two-time Tony nominee André De Shields will perform his solo work-in-progress, entitled Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance , for 12 performances only from Thursday, February 4 through Sunday February 14 at the Abingdon Theater, 312 West 36 St. in New York.

Presented by The Working Theater, Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance was created, researched and written by Mr. De Shields, and will be directed by Alfred Preisser.

André De Shields in David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre at the Alliance in Altanta. © Lia Chang

Mr. De Shields notes that the months of January and February 2010 host the following historic events: Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday (Jan 19); the first anniversary of the inauguration of our first African-American President, Barack Obama (Jan 20); Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (Feb 12) and the anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth (Feb/1818). “In my performance, I explore the life and achievements of the Great Emancipator, Frederick Douglass. Douglass began his life as a slave, through heroic efforts, became one of America’s most important and historically influential African American leaders.”

De Shields just returned to New York from Atlanta, where he was starring in the Alliance Theatre’s production of David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre opposite Ariel Shaffir, to attend the 37th Annual Audelco Awards ceremony at Aaron Davis Hall on November 16. His turn as the title character in the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE, garnered him his 6th Audelco, “The Viv” award for Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Male.

AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee, Inc.) was established and incorporated in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson, to stimulate interest in, and support of performing arts in black communities. The annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition, “The VIV”Awards are the only formally established awards presented to the black theatre community.

AUDELCO winner André De Shields (center) flanked by Tyrone Davis, Charletta Rozzell and Reji Woods in the Classical Theatre of Harlem's ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE at The Clurman in July, 2009. © Lia Chang

AUDELCO winner André De Shields (center) flanked by Tyrone Davis, Charletta Rozzell and Reji Woods in the Classical Theatre of Harlem's ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE at The Clurman in July, 2009. © Lia Chang

ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE, co-written by Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner, received three other Audelcos, including Musical Production of the Year, Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Female (Kim Brockington) and Outstanding Musical Director (Kelvyn Bell).

Six time Audelco award winner André De Shields (Outstanding Performance in Musical, Male) and Julia Breanetta Simpson at the 37th Annual Audelco Awards at Aaron Davis Hall in New York, on Monday, November 16.

Six time Audelco award winner André De Shields (Outstanding Performance in Musical, Male) and Julia Breanetta Simpson at the 37th Annual Audelco Awards at Aaron Davis Hall in New York on Monday, November 16.

Loosely based on Moliere’s classic work Tartuffe, and inspired by the fabulously unorthodox ministries of Daddy Grace, Reverend Ike and Rasputin, ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE enjoyed a successful sold out run at The Harold Clurman on 42nd Street in the Summer of 2009. The musical is set to reopen later this season for an open commercial run.

Click here for a full list of AUDELCO winners.

De Shields has appeared in numerous Broadway, Off Broadway and regional productions as well as television and film. This summer, in addition to the wildly successful Off-Broadway production of The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE, he appeared in The Public Theatre’s production of Euripides’ The Bacchae in Central Park. On Broadway, he appeared in Impressionism as well as the original Broadway casts of The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On!, The Full Monty and Prymate, among many others. He also conceived, co-wrote, directed, and starred in Haarlem Nocturne.

André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance. © Lia Chang

André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance. © Lia Chang

In August, he was presented with The National Black Theatre Festival’s “Living Legend” Award. He won the coveted OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance in 2007. His television credits include Cosby, Sex and the City, Law & Order, Lipstick Jungle and Life on Mars.

André De Shields’ Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance will run from February 4 through 14, 2010 at the Abingdon Theater, 312 West 36 St. in New York. The performance schedule for Mine Eyes is Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm with matinees on Wednesday, February 10th at 2pm, Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 3pm. All tickets are $25 and can be ordered online at www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 868-4444. For special group discounts call (212) 244-3300. www.theworkingtheater.org.

André De Shields  as Frederick Douglass (Photo by Lia Chang)

André De Shields as Frederick Douglass (Photo by Lia Chang)


Founded in 1985, The Working Theater’s mission is to produce plays for and about working people. “We believe that theater should not be a privilege or a luxury, but a staple,” says Mark Plesent. “We want working people who may not be able to afford commercial theater or who feel that it does not resonate with their lives and experience, to make play-going a regular part of their cultural activities.” Over the years, the company has commissioned and produced more than 70 world premieres of culturally diverse new plays; garnered widespread recognition and critical acclaim for writing, acting, directing as well as their pioneering efforts in audience development.
www.theworkingtheater.org
Click on the arrow below for an excerpt of André as Frederick Douglass.

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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. Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

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André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory from Douglass to Deliverance

Classical Theatre of Harlem’s ARCHBISHOP SUPREME TARTUFFE Reviews
NY Times Weekend Listing
Broadwayworld.com
Show Business Weekly
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VillageVoice.com
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Variety.com

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