Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Among 4 Elliot Norton Award Nominations for Huntington’s World Premiere of The Jungle Book, a co-production with The Goodman

Anjali Bhimani, André De Shields, NIkka Graff Lanzarone, Monique Haley, Geoff Packard, Akash Chopra, Ed Kross and Govind Kumar in The Jungle Book at The Huntington Theatre in Boston on September 5, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Anjali Bhimani, André De Shields, NIkka Graff Lanzarone, Monique Haley, Geoff Packard, Akash Chopra, Ed Kross and Govind Kumar in The Jungle Book at The Huntington Theatre in Boston on September 5, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Huntington’s World Premiere of The Jungle Book, a co-production with The Goodman, is up for four Elliot Norton Award nominations, including André De Shields for Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor, Mary Zimmerman for Outstanding Director, Large Theater, Scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costumes by Mara Blumenfeld, lighting by T.J. Gerckens, sound by Joshua Horvath, Ray Nardelli, and Andre J. Pluess for Outstanding Design, Large Theater, and Outstanding Musical Production by a Large Theater.

The awards are presented annually by The Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) (Don Aucoin, Jared Bowen, Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay, Nick Dussault, Iris Fanger, Joyce Kulhawik, Kilian Melloy, Bob Nesti, and Ed Siegel) to honor the outstanding productions, directors, designers, and performers audiences see on Greater Boston stages all year long. The Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) will hand out the Elliot Norton Awards, celebrating its 32nd anniversary, on Monday, May 19 at the Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway Boston, MA 02215. Ceremony highlights include musical performances, The Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, a guest of honor, who is a theater artist who has enriched the cultural life of our region, and post-ceremony party.

In the past, that distinguished list of honorees has included, among others: Chita Rivera, Tommy Tune, Al Pacino, Edward Albee, Brian Dennehy, August Wilson, Julie Harris, Sir Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave, and Jason Robards.

What the critics are saying about André De Shields as King Louie in The Jungle Book.

Andre De Shields Photo by Lia Chang

Andre De Shields Photo by Lia Chang

Entertainment Weekly: The Jungle Book Reviewed by Thom Geier (Jul 12, 2013)
“The Act 1 finale, the raucously swinging show-stopper ”I Wanna Be Like You.” In that spirited number, the commanding Andre De Shields leads a chorus of mischievous apes and squeezes every drop of juice out of the delightfully jazzy tune by Disney tunesmiths Richard and Robert Sherman (the brothers who wrote most of the original movie’s songs).”

Variety: Theater Review: ‘The Jungle Book’ by Steven Oxman (Jul. 1, 2013)
“All of this comes together to put the audience on true highs, particularly at the end of Act I with the number “I Wanna Be Like You.” Andre De Shields plays the monkey King Louie with incomparable showmanship; Gattelli’s choreography is rich and buoyant; and Peck’s arrangements bring layers of additional interest and verve.”

Chicagomag.com: Jungle Book Review BY CATEY SULLIVAN (JUL. 2, 2013)
“Here, the fiercely elegant Andre De Shields absolutely owns the role of the King of the Swingers, stopping the show cold with his roof-raising, infectiously celebratory rendition of a song expressing Louie’s desire to obtain the secrets of fire. The ultra-high energy number left me with two uncontrollably tapping feet and a grin… De Shields sings, swings and scats with a regal, red-hot cool that leaves no doubt: With all due respect to the Shere Khan and Bagheera, Louie is the coolest cat in the jungle.”

Chicago Sun-Times.com: Goodman Theatre’s ‘Jungle Book’ a wonderful new musical By Hedy Weiss (July 1, 2013)
“Along the way there is the raucous royalty of the monkey kingdom, with Andre De Shields as King Louie, driving the joint to jumping and beyond in “I Wanna Be Like You,” the song that suggests the difference between man and beast is man’s ability to create fire.”

Theatermania.com: The Jungle Book Review By Sandy MacDonald (Oct 7, 2013)
“A spirited cast — notably André De Shields as a Louis Armstrong-inspired orangutan King Louie…”

BWW REVIEW: ‘THE JUNGLE BOOK’ SWINGS IN BOSTON by Jan Nargi (Oct. 13, 2013)
“King Louie (André De Shields), the flamboyant orangutan who leads his swingin’ troop of mischievous monkeys in a roof-raising “I Wanna Be Like You”… The intended show stealer is André De Shields as King Louie, the character created by Disney in 1967 for jazz great Louis Prima. De Shields belts, riffs and scats with the best of them….De Shields builds the number joyously and exults in swingin’ and swayin’ like a Zoot-suited Cab Calloway.”

The Boston Globe: ‘Jungle Book’ is lush yet temperate By Don Aucoin (SEPTEMBER 19, 2013)
“When longtime Broadway veteran Andre De Shields seizes the stage, though, the temperature of “The Jungle Book’’ measurably rises. He plays King Louie, an orangutan and leader of a band of monkeys who kidnap young Mowgli (enthusiastically portrayed by Akash Chopra), intent on eliciting from him the secret of fire. Toward that end, De Shields performs “I Wanna Be Like You,’’ while the monkeys shake and twirl and hurl things about, the action rising to a state of pandemonium until De Shields finally faces the audience, points a finger at them, and sings: “I want to be like you.’’

The Elliot Norton Awards are named for the eminent Boston theater critic Elliot Norton, who remained an active supporter of the drama, both locally and nationally, until his death in 2003 at the age of 100. The Boston theater community carries on his legacy and can be proud of its remarkable growth at a time in our nation’s history when the arts are truly struggling to survive.

Tickets are $30 ($10 off discount “norton2014” is good through April 30, 2014) For tickets and information visit www.nortonawardsboston.com or by calling Wheelock Family Theatre 617-879-2300.

The 32nd Annual Elliot Norton Awards Nominations

Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award:

      • Olympia Dukakis

Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence:

      • Paul Daigneault

Outstanding Visiting Production

      • Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)
      • Waiting for Godot (Gare St Lazare Players and Dublin Theatre Festival, presented by ArtsEmerson)
      • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic in association with Handspring Puppet Company, presented by ArtsEmerson)

Outstanding Production by a Large Resident Theater

      • All the Way (American Repertory Theater)
      • The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater) Venus in Fur (Huntington Theatre Company)

Outstanding Production by a Midsize Theater

      • Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
      • Imagining Madoff (New Repertory Theatre)
      • The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Outstanding Production by a Small Theater

      • Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
      • How We Got On (Company One)
      • The Flick (Company One)

Outstanding Production by a Fringe Theater

      • Punk Rock (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
      • The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
      • The Libertine (Bridge Repertory Theater)

Outstanding Design, Large Theater

      • The Heart of Robin Hood: Set design by Börkur Jónsson, costumes by Emma Ryott, lighting by Björn Helgason, sound by Jonathan Deans (American Repertory Theater)
      • Mies Julie: Set and lighting design by Patrick Curtis, original lighting design by Paul Abrams, costumes by Birrie Le Roux, music composed and performed by Daniel and Matthew Pencer (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)
      • The Jungle Book: Scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costumes by Mara Blumenfeld, lighting by T.J. Gerckens, sound by Joshua Horvath, Ray Nardelli, and Andre J. Pluess (Huntington Theatre Company)

Outstanding Design, Midsize, Small or Fringe Theater

      • Windowmen: Scenic design by Andrew R. Phelps, sound and lighting by David Wilson, costumes by Rachel Padula Shufelt (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
      • The Flick: Scenic design by Cristina Todesco, lighting by Jen Rock, costumes by Amanda Maciel Antunes, sound by Edward Young, props master Anita Shriver (Company One)
      • The Whale: Scenic design by Cristina Todesco, costumes by Gail Astrid Buckley, lighting by Jeff Adelberg, sound David Remedios (SpeakEasy Stage Company)

Outstanding Musical Production by a Large Theater

      • Once (Broadway in Boston)
      • The Jungle Book (Huntington Theatre Company)
      • Witness Uganda (American Repertory Theater)

Outstanding Musical Production by a Midsize, Small or Fringe Company

      • Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)
      • It’s a Horrible Life (Gold Dust Orphans)
      • Hairspray (Wheelock Family Theatre)
Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

Francis Jue. Photo by Lia Chang

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor

      • Andre De Shields, The Jungle Book (Huntington Theatre Company)
      • Paul Melendy, It’s a Horrible Life (Gold Dust Orphans)
      • Francis Jue, Miss Saigon (North Shore Music Theatre)

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actress

      • Melody Betts, Witness Uganda (American Repertory Theater)
      • Aimee Doherty, On the Town (Lyric Stage Company of Boston), Hairspray (Wheelock Family Theatre)
      • Ephie Aardema, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)

Outstanding New Script

      • Windowmen, by Steven Barkhimer (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
      • Absence, by Peter M. Floyd (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
      • Breaking the Shakespeare Code, by John Minigan (Vagabond Theatre Company)

Outstanding Director, Large Theater

      • Gisli Örn Gardarsson, The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)
      • Mary Zimmerman, The Jungle Book (Huntington Theatre Company)
      • Yael Farber, Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Centre, presented by ArtsEmerson)

Outstanding Director, Midsize Theater

      • M. Bevin O’Gara, Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
      • Ilyse Robbins, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)
      • Melia Bensussen, The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Outstanding Director, Small or Fringe Theater

      • Summer L. Williams, How We Got On (Company One)
      • David J. Miller, Punk Rock and The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
      • Shawn LaCount, The Flick (Company One)
Michael McKean, Bryan Cranston and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

Michael McKean, Bryan Cranston and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

Outstanding Actor, Large Theater

      • Bryan Cranston, All the Way (American Repertory Theater)
      • Bongile Mantsai, Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Center, presented by ArtsEmerson)
      • Denis O’Hare, An Iliad (Homer’s Coat, presented by ArtsEmerson)

Outstanding Actress, Large Theater

      • Hilda Cronje, Mies Julie (Baxter Theatre Center, presented by ArtsEmerson)
      • Andrea Syglowski, Venus in Fur (Huntington Theatre Company)
      • Christina Bennett Lind, The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)

Outstanding Actor, Midsize Theater

      • John Kuntz, The Whale (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
      • Steven Barkhimer, The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)
      • Jeremiah Kissel, Imagining Madoff (New Repertory Theatre)

Outstanding Actress, Midsize Theater

      • Erica Spyres, Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
      • Georgia Lyman, The Whale (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
      • Marianna Bassham, The Cherry Orchard (Actors’ Shakespeare Project)

Outstanding Actor, Small or Fringe Theater

      • Phil Gillen, Punk Rock (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
      • Alex Pollock, This Is Our Youth (Gloucester Stage Company), Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), The Flick (Company One)
      • Victor Shopov, The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)

Outstanding Actress, Small or Fringe Theater

      • Maureen Adduci, The Normal Heart (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
      • Brenna Fitzgerald, The Flick (Company One)
      • Cloteal Horne, How We Got On (Company One)

Outstanding Ensemble, Large Theater

      • All the Way (American Repertory Theater)
      • The Heart of Robin Hood (American Repertory Theater)
      • The Seagull (Huntington Theatre Company)

Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize, Small or Fringe Theater

      • Punk Rock (Zeitgeist Stage Company)
      • Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre)
      • Hairspray (Wheelock Family Theatre)
      • Thoroughly Modern Millie (Stoneham Theatre)

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan
Apr. 29-May 17: Gordana Rashovich, Mia Dillon and Brian Murray Lead Cast of Westport Country Playhouse’s A SONG AT TWILIGHT
May 19: The Orphan of Zhao’s BD Wong and A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff in Conversation at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater
May 1-30: Eating Cultures, A Multidisciplinary Art Exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center, Features Christine Toy Johnson, Cathy Lu, Genevieve Erin O’Brien, Kate Hers Rhee and More
Jun. 4-29: Tony Award–winner BD Wong Leads Cast of A.C.T.’s U.S. Premiere of Orphan of Zhao, a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Leads 2014 Tony Award Nominations; Bryan Cranston, LaTanya Richardson, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Rylance, Audra McDonald, Leigh Silverman among nominees
Miss Saigon’s Francis Jue Receives Elliot Norton Award Nomination for Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor
Apr. 23-May 11: New York Premiere of Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty Features Christine Toy Johnson, Antoinette LaVecchia, Richard Topol, Victor Williams, Nikkole Salter, Elizabeth Van Dyke, Ami Brabson at the Paradise Factory
Photos: On the Town with Rome Neal, Jazz Vocalist and Star of Laurence Holder’s MONK
Photos: AALDEF Honors Mari Matsuda, Aasif Mandvi, and John Chou in 2014 at 40th Anniversary Celebration
Apr. 23-27: Joel de la Fuente Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at PlayMaker’s Repertory Company
Jun. 22 – July 27: Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Set for Old Globe Debut in OTHELLO
Apr. 17-May 18: Tonya Pinkins and Roscoe Orman Lead the Cast of New Federal Theatre’s Off-Broadway Production of The Fabulous Miss Marie
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz Presents “LADY” Featuring Lia Chang, Monica Garrido, Carolyn Holmes, Noel Simon’ Wippler, Linda Hudson, Adi Meyerson and Kathleen Doran
Photos: Harriet Harris, John Tartaglia, Christine Toy Johnson, Alan Muraoka, James Saito and More celebrate Ann Harada’s Debut at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series
Photos: Steve Rosen, David Rossmer, Hannah Elless, Vadim Feichtner, Cathryn Salamone, Ken Triwush and Kate Wetherhead Celebrate The Other Josh Cohen Opening Night
Q & A with Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play’s Garth Kravits
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards 
Photos: Christine Toy Johnson, Baayork Lee, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Dodie Pettit and More at Charles Randolph-Wright’s “Three Voices” concert series at Stage 72 
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Other articles on Andre De Shields:
André De Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kyle Beltran, Kevin Mambo and More Set for DTC’s World Premiere Musical The Fortress of Solitude, A Co-Production with The Public Theater
André De Shields to receive 2014 Making Waves Award; will perform “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” at Florida Atlantic University
Nov. 16: Conversations with the Divine with Owais Ahmed, Baize Buzan, Kathryn Cesarz, Kamal Hans, Brian Grey, Donica Lynn, Patrese McClain and Miranda Zola at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
André De Shields Delivers Keynote at the International Conference of Fine Arts Deans in New Orleans
Photos: André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Akash Chopra, Richard M. Sherman, Kevin Carolan, Larry Yando, Nehal Joshi and More Celebrate The Jungle Book Opening Night at Huntington Theatre in Boston
Click here for more articles on André De Shields.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia will make her jazz vocalist debut on March 1, 2014, in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 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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