Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Maurice Hines, Jonathan Groff, Mercedes Ellington, Charles Randolph Wright at The Laurie Beechman for André De Shields’ I PUT A SPELL ON YOU

Freida Williams, André De Shields and Marléne Danielle in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Freida Williams, André De Shields and Marléne Danielle in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in I Put a Spell on You at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in I Put a Spell on You at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Following a sold-out engagement of his acclaimed theatrical concert BLACK BY POPULAR DEMAND at the Laurie Beechman Theatre last May, two-time Tony Award nominated and Emmy Award winning performer André De Shields returned to the cabaret stage for his latest theatrical concert, I PUT A SPELL ON YOU on Friday, October 5, at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Downstairs at The West Bank Café in New York.

Larry Spivak, Freida Williams, André De Shields and Marléne Danielle in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Larry Spivak, Freida Williams, André De Shields and Marléne Danielle in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

The evening featured De Shields along with his longtime partners in crime, vocalists Freida Williams and Marléne Danielle, with accompaniment by pianist Larry Spivack, and special guest appearances by vocalist Ula Hedwig and composer Steve Margoshes.

Freida Williams, Ula Hedwig and Marléne Danielle in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Freida Williams, Ula Hedwig and Marléne Danielle in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Certainly no stranger to New York’s famed cabaret scene, De Shields reigned as King of Cabaret during the 1970s with the creation of his innovative theatrical concerts in such popular clubs as Reno Sweeney, Horn of Plenty, The Grand Finale, Les Mouches, The Club at La MaMa and many other venues around the world. The Hollywood Reporter dubbed De Shields “the most lethal pelvis since Elvis!”

Composer Steve Margoshes in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Composer Steve Margoshes in concert at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Maurice Hines, Jonathan Groff, Mercedes Ellington, Motown helmer Charles Randolph Wright, Mark Nadler, James Rado, Kimberly Grigsby were among the standing room audience that leapt to their feet at the end of the concert with wild applause.

Maurice Hines, André De Shields and Motown helmer Charles Randolph Wright at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

Maurice Hines, André De Shields and Motown helmer Charles Randolph Wright
at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

 

James Rado, Jonathan Groff, Kimberly Grigsby and André De Shields at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

James Rado, Jonathan Groff, Kimberly Grigsby and André De Shields at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in I Put a Spell on You at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in I Put a Spell on You at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

De Shields and Company will be performing one more show tonight at 11:00 PM. General admission tickets booked in advance are $25 plus $15 food/beverage minimum. Tickets are available at www.smarttix.com or by calling 212-868-4444. The Laurie Beechman Theatre Downstairs at The West Bank Café (407 West 42 Street) in New York.

André De Shields was recently awarded a Fox Foundation Fellowship Grant for Distinguished Achievement of $25,000 to support his work at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. De Shields will further develop his experimental methodology, The Golden Triangle and the 5W Stack/Inner Athlete System. He will deepen this unique style of Griot Performance Art that combines rigorous physical exertion, discipline and contemplation through a new, original work, Confessions of a P.I.M.P. (Positive Individual Making Progress). De Shields will also mentor artists and young people in Victory’s Poets Conservatory and school programs. De Shields’ residency at Victory Gardens will begin in the Spring, 2013.

André De Shields in I Put a Spell on You at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in I Put a Spell on You at The Laurie Beechman on October 5, 2012. Photo by Lia Chang

In a career spanning more than forty years, De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator. He is the recipient of the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival Living Legend Award, the 2009 AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical/Male (Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe), and the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields is best known for his show stopping performances in the original Broadway productions of four legendary musicals: The Full Monty, for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations, in addition to both the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards; Play On! (Tony nomination), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award) and The Wiz (title role). He recently performed a featured role in Chicago’s Goodman Theatre production of Camino Real and the New York Times had this to say “De Shields essentially walks off with the show, or rather slinks off with it!”

André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois in Charles Smith's Knock Me A Kiss © Lia Chang

André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois in Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss © Lia Chang

De Shields is currently in rehearsal to reprise his role as W.E.B. Du Bois in KNOCK ME A KISS (by Charles Smith) at Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, NJ. The show called “a dandy play…rollicking fun” by the New York Times, runs from October 25 through November 4.

For more information, visit www.andredeshields.com.

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Other articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Tonya Pinkins, André De Shields, S. Epatha Merkerson, Billy Porter and George C. Wolfe at 54 Below
André De Shields Returns to The Laurie Beechman Theatre with I Put A Spell on You, October 5 and 12
Black By Popular Demand’s André De Shields on Seth Rudetsky’s Sirius XM radio show “Seth Speaks” & in person at Don’t Tell Mama for Chatterbox
André De Shields in BLACK BY POPULAR DEMAND at the Laurie Beechman, 5/4, 5/11 & 5/18
Signature Theatre’s Production of Golden Child by David Henry Hwang has been extended through December 9, 2012
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 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

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