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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
Mantegna was accompanied by his wife Arlene and their two daughters Gia Mantegna and Mia Mantegna.
André, Joe, Arlene and Murphy Cross all worked together at the Shubert Theatre in the 1969 production of Hair.
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.
Following the performance, the cast partied at The Palmer House and continued dancing the night away.
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‘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
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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.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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