Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Two-time Tony Nominee and Emmy Award Winner André De Shields in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens, Aug. 26-28

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Dennis Začek and Grippo Stage Co., Inc., will present CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., written and performed by André De Shields, and directed by Samuel G. Roberson and Dennis Začek. The cast also includes Kim Lawson and Donica Lynn.

CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. has performances on Friday, August 26th at 8:00P.M., Saturday, August 27th at 8:00P.M. and Sunday, August 28th at 7:30P.M. in the Začek McVay Theater at Victory Gardens Theater, located at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.victorygardens.org or by calling the box office at 773-871-3000.

Andre De Shields_P.I.M.P. flyer 1c -2From 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 creative team for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. includes Doug Peck (musical direction), Jake Ruppert (sound design) and Charles Smith (dramaturg). The band includes Tony Mhoon (bass) and Robert Reddrick (percussion). Tina Jach is the stage manager.

Robert Reddrick, Doug Peck, André De Shields, Tony Mhoon, Kimberly Lawson and Donica Lynn at the curtain call for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens' 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays in Chicago on July 16, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Robert Reddrick, Doug Peck, André De Shields, Tony Mhoon, Kimberly Lawson and Donica Lynn at the curtain call for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays in Chicago on July 16, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Two-time Tony Nominee and Emmy Award Winner André De Shields Talks About “WOZ: A Rock Cabaret”  and “CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P.” at Victory Gardens 

CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. originally premiered as part of Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays.

André De Shields, Robert Reddrick and Kimberly Lawson in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens' 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays in Chicago on July 16, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Robert Reddrick and Kimberly Lawson in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays in Chicago on July 16, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

In a career spanning forty-seven 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, now the Bank of America 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, a 2015 Award for Excellence in Theatre from the Theatre School at DePaul University, 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. Ubuntu.

Kimberly Lawson and Donica Lynn in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens' 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays in Chicago on July 16, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Kimberly Lawson and Donica Lynn in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays in Chicago on July 16, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Kimberly Lawson appeared in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. during the 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays. A current board member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals, her cabaret shows include WOZ: A Rock Cabaret, Why Can’t a Woman: A Feminist Perspective of Broadway, Fancy Meeting You Here and Life, Love, and Faith: A Tribute to Faith Prince. She is currently a student of Nadine Gomes of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Tony Award Winner Faith Prince. In her non-performing life, Kimberly is the Audience Services Manager at Lookingglass Theatre.

Donica Lynn was most recently see on stage in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Dreamgirls! Previous PMT credits include: Chicago Sings Motown, Chicago Sings Disney and Off the Porch’s Gatecrashers. Chicago credits include: CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P with Tony nominee Andre De Shields (Victory Gardens); The Color Purple, Barnum (Mercury Theater); Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Aida (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Once On This Island and Seussical (Marriott Lincolnshire); Lady in Denmark, Crowns and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Goodman Theatre); as well as works with Paramount, Court, Congo Square, Theatre at the Center and ETA Creative Arts. Film/TV credits include: “Chicago Fire”. She is also a featured vocalist on albums by Ramsay Lewis, Calvin Bridges, Justin Roberts and Cory Goodrich. Donica is a two-time Black Theater Alliance Award nominee, a Black Excellence Award nominee, an alumna of Soul Children of Chicago, proud AEA & AGMA member and represented by Stewart Talent.

Chay Yew Photo by Lia Chang

Chay Yew Photo by Lia Chang

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew, 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. Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, 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.

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 Za?ek-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.

Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis AlfaroPhilip DawkinsMarcus GardleyIke HolterSamuel D. HunterNaomi IizukaTanya Saracho and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater.

The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie CarterSteve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo CruzJoel Drake JohnsonJohn Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas PostJames ShermanCharles SmithJeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens, visit www.victorygardens.org.

Production Photos and Video: WOZ: A ROCK CABARET with Guest Star André De Shields at Victory Gardens through 7/17

Two-time Tony Nominee and Emmy Award Winner André De Shields Talks About “WOZ: A Rock Cabaret”  and “CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P.” at Victory Gardens 

Multimedia: CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. Opening Night with André De Shields 

André De Shields and Mathilde Mukantabana, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America, “Celebrate Rwanda” at The SUNY Global Center 

Two-time Tony Nominee André De Shields and Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana featured in Celebrate Rwanda! Event at The SUNY Global Center on June 29

STC’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW Opening Night with André De Shields, Maulik Pancholy, Telly Leung, Oliver Thornton and More

Photos: Santino Fontana, André De Shields, John Larroquette, Nikki Renée Daniels, Bryce Pinkham, John Behlmann, Christiane Noll and More in New York City Center’s Encores! 1776 

Closing Night Party of Encores! 1776 with André De Shields, Santino Fontana, John Larroquette, Nikki Renée Daniels, Bryce Pinkham, Ann Harada at New York City Center 

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 actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. 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.

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