Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Rehearsal Photos and Video: CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. with Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, Donica Lynn and Samuel G. Roberson at Victory Gardens Theater

André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields kicks off the Victory Gardens Theater’s 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays with CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. on Thursday, July 16, 2015, at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free, though an RSVP is required. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.victorygardens.org/ignition/ or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.

Director Samuel G. Roberson and André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Director Samuel G. Roberson and André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Samuel G. Roberson helms the cast which also features Kimberly Lawson, Donica Lynn, Tony Mhoon, Robert Reddrick and Doug Peck, who also serves as  musical director.

Donica Lynn and Andre De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Donica Lynn and André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Synopsis
From the heat of urban insurrection in Baltimore, Maryland to the incandescent glare of New York’s Great White Way, “Jelly Belly” has many stories to tell. Through song, dance, and spoken word, join Victory Gardens Theater’s Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellow André De Shields in this riveting solo-performance as we follow this adventure from inner city impoverishment to self-actualization.

The IGNITION Opening Night Party follows the performance.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

In a career spanning forty-six years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator.  He is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, one as Director for Victory Gardens’ 1987 production of The Colored Museum, and two as Featured Performer in a Musical for the Goodman Theatre productions of Play On! (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book (2013).  In fact André’s professional career began at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre in the 1969 production of Hair.  From there he moved on to The Me Nobody Knows at the Civic Opera House, and ultimately became a member of The Organic Theatre Company, where he created the role of Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in the cult sensation Warp. A multiple Tony Award nominee, he is best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’Play On! and The Full Monty. His numerous accolades include an Emmy Award for the NBC Special based on Ain’t Misbehavin’, the National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, the Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance and two Doctor of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa one each from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York-College at Buffalo. A triple Capricorn, Mr. De Shields is the ninth of eleven children born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland. www.andredeshields.com.

Click below for the full lineup of the 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays at Victory Gardens Theater, July 16-19

Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, GREY’S ANATOMY star Sandra Oh, Kimberly Lawson, Donica Lynn, Tony Mhoon, Doug Peck, Robert Reddrick, Anjali Bhimani and More set for 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays at Victory Gardens Theater, July 16-19

Victory Gardens Theater’s IGNITION Festival of New Plays features new works by Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, Julia Cho, Minita Gandhi, Basil Kreimendahl, José Rivera, Madhuri Shekar and A. Zell Williams, July 16-19 

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

The IGNITION Festival of New Plays is an annual festival devoted to fostering a community of support for the development of outstanding new plays and nurturing relationships with emerging playwrights. Launched in 2008 with support from the Ford Foundation, IGNITION was designtaylored at that time to be a biennial festival focused on identifying emerging playwrights of color. Over the course of the festival, it has grown to become an annual festival that focuses on identifying exceptional emerging playwrights of any background who speak to contemporary ethnic, social, religious, generational and economic diversity. Since 2008, several plays were first discovered at Ignition and subsequently produced on the mainstage during a Victory Gardens season (…Chad Diety, Year Zero, We Are Proud to Present…, Appropriate, Samsara, Cocked, and Hillary and Clinton.)

All readings are free and open to the public, and each play’s dramaturg will facilitate a post-show discussion to gauge audience responses to the work with a facilitator.

The IGNITION Festival of New Plays receives major support from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, and Southwest Airlines, Victory Gardens’ official travel sponsor.

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Chicago. Photo by Lia Chang

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Chicago. Photo by Lia Chang

Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Admission to all festival readings and events is free, though an RSVP is required. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.victorygardens.org/ignition/ or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Christopher Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage, and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

Literary intern Austin Louis Dowling and André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Literary intern Austin Louis Dowling and André De Shields in rehearsal for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on July 14, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins,Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens, www.victorygardens.org. Follow up on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Other articles by Lia Chang
Q & A with Jose Llana, the new King of Siam in LCT’s Tony Award-Winning Revival of The King and I
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Photo Tribute: Welsh Actor and Director Roger Rees, a Tony, Olivier and Obie Winner Best Known for Nicholas Nickleby, ‘Cheers,’ ‘The West Wing,’ and most recently, The Visit, Dies at 71 
Photos and Video:’The Visit’ Broadway cast performance and CD signing at Barnes & Noble with Chita Rivera, John Kander, Graciela Daniele and Co.
Drumhead Magazine: Living Colour Drummer Will Calhoun, Photos by Lia Chang 
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Ryun Yu stars as Gordon Hirabayashi in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at ACT, July 17 – August 16
Photos: #EmptyMet Tour with Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan
China: Through the Looking Glass Exhibition Extended through September 7 at Metropolitan Museum
Photos:Lunch with Tony Winner Lea Salonga and George Takei, Stars of ALLEGIANCE
Award-winning Filmmaker Jennifer Phang’s Sci-Fi film ADVANTAGEOUS starring Jacqueline Kim, Ken Jeong and Samantha Kim, available on Netflix and iTunes
Photos: Garth Kravits, Michael Keyloun, Klea Blackhurst, Eloise Kropp, Maxine Linehan, and Aaron Ramey in GROUNDED FOR LIFE at The York
July 25-26: #AAIFF2015 Spotlight on Arthur Dong- Screenings of THE KILLING FIELDS OF HAING S. NGOR and FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A, plus an on-stage conversation
2015 Asian American International Film Festival Lineup, July 23-Aug. 1
WORLD PREMIERE of THE TOP TEN 72 Hour Shootout films of 2015 at Village Cinema East on July 25
Photos & Video: Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Harriett D. Foy, Laiona Michelle and Tom Hewitt in AMAZING GRACE
Ebony Jo-Ann Celebrates PLEASE SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME CD Release, with a concert at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar on July 15
Behind the Scenes of the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout with Lia Chang, Garth Kravits, Evan Daves and Alicia Manns in HIDE AND SEEK
Photos: The 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Launch Party at The Korea Society; TWO FACES is this year’s theme 
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Michael K. Lee, Christopheren Nomura, Greg Watanabe and More Join George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung in Broadway’s ALLEGIANCE; Full Cast Announced!
Crafting a Career

Other articles about André De Shields:
Two-Time Tony nominee André De Shields, Tony Winner Lillias White, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’s Lori Tan Chinn, Stephanie Powers, Georgia Engel & More Will Lead Broadway-Bound Musical GOTTA DANCE in Chicago
Photos: Inside THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE CD Release Concert with André De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Adam Chanler-Berat, Michael Friedman and More
Actor André De Shields on His Self-Made Journey 
Production Photos: André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams in Arena Stage’s King Hedley II through March 8
tcgcircle.org THE GRAND ILLUSION by ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS in FOX FELLOWSHIPS
wtop.com: André Robin De Shields , Original ‘Wiz’ hits Arena Stage for August Wilson play ‘King Hedley II’
BWW Interviews: One Legend Tackles Another in Arena Stage’s King Hedley II
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Photos: André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White in 40th Anniversary of The WIZ Tribute at BC/EFA’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR; Competition Breaks Records With Over $5 Million as Hugh Jackman’s THE RIVER Brings in Top Donation
The Fortress of Solitude, starring Adam Chanler-Berat, André De Shields, Kyle Beltran, Kevin Mambo, Rebecca Naomi Jones ends extended run 11/16; Ghostlight to Record Cast Album 
Nov. 17: Chapman Roberts, Loretta Abbott, André De Shields, David Greer, Norm Lewis, Cherine Anderson, Lawrence Evans, Colby Christina & Nicholas A. Jenkins to Receive Special AUDELCO Awards
Photos: André De Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Jose Llana, Kevin Mambo, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kyle Beltran, Kim Brockington and More at The Fortress of Solitude 
Two-time Tony Nominee and Emmy Winner André De Shields Performs FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory and Speaks on The Wisdome of The Ancient Art of Storytelling at AFP 2014: Change Through Stories, Sept. 8-9, 2014
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
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
Click here for more articles on André De Shields.

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 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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