Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Photos: André De Shields, Joe Mantegna, Jerry Mitchell, Lillias White, Lori Tan Chinn, Haven Burton and More celebrate ‘Gotta Dance’ Opening in Chicago

André De Shields and Georgia Engel in GOTTA DANCE. Photo by Matthew Murphy

André De Shields and Georgia Engel in GOTTA DANCE. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Last night, two-time Tony nominee André De Shields celebrated the opening night of Gotta Dance, the new Broadway-bound musical comedy based on the 2008 documentary by Dori Berinstein which tells the story of professional basketball’s first ever aged 60-and-older dance team, at Broadway In Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe St, Chicago).

Producer Dori Berinstein and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Producer Dori Berinstein and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Gotta Dance, produced by Dori Berinstein and Bill Damaschke, is helmed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with co-choreography by Nick Kenkel. The show began previews on December 13th, and will continue its extended run through January 17, 2016. Gotta Dance is slated to bow on Broadway in the Fall of 2016. Click here for tickets and more information.

Jerry Mitchell and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Director Jerry Mitchell and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Gotta Dance features an all-star creative team that includes a book by Tony Award- nominee Chad Beguelin (Aladdin) and Tony Award-winner Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), music by Tony and Emmy Award nominee Matthew Sklar (Elf) and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), with additional music by Marvin Hamlisch (an Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar winner).

Producer Bill Damaschke, bookwriters Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, producer Dori Berinstein, director Jerry Mitchell and composer Matthew Sklar. Photo: @BroadwayChicago

Producer Bill Damaschke, bookwriters Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, producer Dori Berinstein, director Jerry Mitchell and composer Matthew Sklar. Photo: @BroadwayChicago

De Shields stars alongside five-time Emmy Award nominee Georgia Engel, television and film icon Stefanie Powers, Tony Award-winner Lillias White, Haven Burton, Orange is the New Black‘s Lori Tan Chinn, Joanna Jones and Nancy Ticotin.

 Nancy Ticotin, Stefanie Powers. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Nancy Ticotin, Stefanie Powers. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The cast also features Alexander Aguilar, Adinah Alexander, Sydni Beaudoin, Holly Ann Butler, Paula Caselton, Murphy Cross,Madeleine Doherty, Tracy Jai Edwards, Ari Groover, Colby Lewis, Lenora Nemetz, Lance Roberts, Elise Santora, Jonalyn Saxer, Austin Scott III, Kay Walbye, and Virginia Ann Woodruff.

André De Shields, Haven Burton, Georgia Engel & GOTTA DANCE! Company. Photo by Matthew Murphy

André De Shields, Haven Burton, Georgia Engel & GOTTA DANCE! Company. Photo by Matthew Murphy

One remarkable dance team. One big chance. One small twist. You gotta be over 60. Gotta Dance is the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major NBA team. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. It isn’t until they make the cut that they find out they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing-they are going to bring down the house with a style that’s entirely new to them: hip hop. Don’t miss this original Broadway-bound musical about a group of ordinary seniors with extraordinary dreams as they battle prejudice, self-doubt and each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans.

André De Shields and the cast of GOTTA DANCE. Photo by Matthew Murphy

André De Shields and the cast of GOTTA DANCE. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Gotta Dance is an amazing journey about everyday people and everyday concerns,” said De Shields in an interview with WGNRadio’s Dean Richards. “This is a guarantee. You come to see Gotta Dance, you’re going to fall in love with these individuals because it’s America on stage singing, dancing their hearts out. It’s a totally multi-cultural, ethnically diverse and inter-generational project that we are doing here. The dance that they’re doing is a metaphor for continuing to be engaged in life.”

André De Shields in the dressing room at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago on December 28, 2015.

André De Shields in the dressing room at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago on December 28, 2015.

The night was a homecoming of sorts for De Shields, who began his professional career at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre, now the Bank of America Theatre, in the 1969 production of Hair. 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). Last month, De Shields received the 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

GOTTA DANCE Star André De Shields receives 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University

The cast and creative team of 'Gotta Dance' at their opening night curtain call at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago on December 28, 2015. Photo: @theaterloop/instagram

The cast and creative team of ‘Gotta Dance’ at their opening night curtain call at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago on December 28, 2015. Photo: @theaterloop/instagram

“This is full circle for me,” said De Shields. “I couldn’t think of a better place than Chicago to have this fate, this destiny, happen in my life. It’s evidence that my choosing this profession was the correct thing to do because the profession has chosen me. It’s brought me back to my artistic home, which is Chicago. It’s brought me back to some of the most intelligent audiences in the theater industry.”

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

It was a lovely reunion for De Shields and Criminal Minds‘ star Joe Mantegna, who both honed their craft as members of Chicago’s Organic Theater Company.

André De Shields, Mia Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Joe Mantegna and Gia Mantegna. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields, Mia Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Joe Mantegna and Gia Mantegna. Photo by Merle Frimark

Mantegna was accompanied by his wife Arlene and their two daughters Gia Mantegna and Mia Mantegna.

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Lillias White, André De Shields and Murphy Cross. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Lillias White, André De Shields and Murphy Cross. Photo by Merle Frimark

André, Joe, Arlene and Murphy Cross all worked together at the Shubert Theatre in the 1969 production of Hair.

André De Shields and E. Faye Butler appeared in the 2015 Arena Stage production of 'King Hedley II'. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and E. Faye Butler appeared in the 2015 Arena Stage production of ‘King Hedley II’. Photo by Merle Frimark

Also in the house – Dennis Zacek, E. Faye Butler (his King Hedley II co-star at Arena Stage), SaMí Chester, De Shields’ niece Valencia Barnes and her husband Jonathan, and his publicist Merle Frimark.

Dennis Zacek and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Dennis Zacek and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Jonathan Barnes, Valencia Barnes and her uncle André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Jonathan Barnes, Valencia Barnes and her uncle André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Jonathan Barnes, SaMí Chester, Arlene Mantegna, André De Shields, Merle Frimark and Joe Mantegna.

Jonathan Barnes, SaMí Chester, Arlene Mantegna, André De Shields, Merle Frimark and Joe Mantegna.

Following the performance, the cast partied at The Palmer House and continued dancing the night away.

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Jerry Mitchell and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Jerry Mitchell and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Joe Mantegna, Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Haven Burton. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Haven Burton. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Joe B. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields with Joe B, the man he portrays in ‘Gotta Dance’. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Lori Tan Chinn. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Lori Tan Chinn. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Tracy Jai Edwards. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Tracy Jai Edwards. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and SaMí Chester. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and SaMí Chester. Photo by Merle Frimark

SaMí Chester, André De Shields and Joe Mantegna. Photo by Merle Frimark

SaMí Chester, André De Shields and Joe Mantegna. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Alexander Aguilar. Photo by Merle Frimark

André De Shields and Alexander Aguilar. Photo by Merle Frimark

Tickets and playbill from the opening night performance of 'Gotta Dance'. Photo by Merle Frimark

Tickets and playbill from the opening night performance of ‘Gotta Dance’. Photo by Merle Frimark

Playbill.com: Lillias White, André De Shields and Cast Gotta Dance! Broadway-Bound Musical Celebrates Opening in Chicago
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Inside Opening Night of Broadway-Bound GOTTA DANCE in Chicago!
‘Gotta Dance’ starring André De Shields, Lillias White, Georgia Engel, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn and more opens at Broadway in Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre
‘Gotta Dance’ starring André De Shields, Lillias White, Georgia Engel, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn at Broadway in Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre through Jan. 17
Video: Getting to Know Tony Award Winner Lillias White, Star of the Broadway-Bound World Premiere of ‘Gotta Dance’ 
Video: Lori Tan Chinn​ as Mae in the Broadway-Bound World Premiere of ‘Gotta Dance’ at Broadway In Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre Video: André De Shields Talked THE WIZ and GOTTA DANCE on News 4 NY with NBC-TV’s Janice Huff
GOTTA DANCE Star André De Shields receives 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University
Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: The Theatre School at DePaul Honors GOTTA DANCE Star Andre De Shields in Chicago
Theatermania.com: Broadway-Bound Gotta Dance Star André Robin De Shields​ Honored at DePaul University 
Two-time Tony nominee and Emmy winner André De Shields and Broadway in Chicago President Lou Raizin to be honored at DePaul University theatre gala on Nov. 9 
Full Cast Announced for GOTTA DANCE starring André De Shields, Lillias White, Georgia Engel, Stefanie Powers, Lori Tan Chinn and More 
Multimedia: CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. Opening Night with 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 and Video: Behind the Scenes with THE WIZ’s André De Shields at The Wiz is 40 at #Summerstage30 
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.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a 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, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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 lia@liachang.com

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