Victory Gardens Theater’s Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellow André De Shields kicked off the Victory Gardens Theater’s 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays with his riveting solo show, CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., on July 16th at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Chicago.
Written by and starring De Shields, with Samuel G. Roberson at the helm, the cast also featured Kimberly Lawson, Donica Lynn, Tony Mhoon (Bassist), Robert Reddrick (Percussionist) and Doug Peck (piano and musical director).
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. It was a packed house for the Two-time Tony nominee who shared his adventure from inner city impoverishment to self-actualization, through song, dance and spoken word.
“Smile” (Duet for Voice and Bass) featuring André De Shields, Kimberly Lawson, Donica Lynn and Tony Mhoon
(Music and Lyrics: André De Shields, Arrangement Michael Thurber)
On Sunday, July 19, 2015, De Shields will be featured in a stage reading of Basil Kreimendahl’s Sadie River’s Drag Ball on the Lawn, with Echaka Agba, Chris Chmelik, and Mary Williamson, directed by Bonnie Metzgar at 7:30 p.m.
Synopsis: Sadie River, Mother to The House of River, teaches her unconventional drag family a new performance that she believes will change their lives. Rather than schooling them on gender performance, she attempts to educate her working-poor family in the art of passing as upper-class.
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 Wiz, Ain’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.
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.)
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.
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.
Lia 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 about André De Shields:
Photo and Video Preview: Two-time Tony nominee André De Shields Kicks Off Victory Gardens’ 2015 Ignition Festival of New Plays with CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P
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
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
tcgcircle.org THE GRAND ILLUSION by ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS in FOX FELLOWSHIPS
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.
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