André De Shields accepts the 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from Christopher Jones at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Benefits, Events, Photography, Theater
André De Shields at the WGN Studios in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields at the WGN Studios in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in first class on American Airlines on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in first class on American Airlines on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

On the town with GOTTA DANCE star André De Shields in Chicago.

On November 9th, two-time Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner André De Shields returned “home” to Chicago in high style on American Airlines in first class.

In town for just the day, De Shields’ whirlwind schedule included several interviews, and attending the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel, where he received the 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

De Shields is currently deep in rehearsal for GOTTA DANCE, the new Broadway-bound musical about professional basketball’s first ever aged 60-and-older dance team, which begins performances on December 13, 2015 and runs through January 10, 2016 at Broadway In Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre. As fate would have it, De Shields’ professional career began at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre (since renamed Broadway In Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre) in the 1969 production of HAIR and now returns to that same stage 46 years later.

Check out De Shields’ photo and video highlights of the day.

WGN Studios in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

WGN Studios in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

First stop: WGN Studios to appear on WGNTV’s Midday Fix with Dean Richards.

Click below to watch the TV interview with Dean Richards.

Midday Fix: André De Shields

Next on the agenda was a radio interview with WBBMNewsradio’s Lisa Fielding.

Click below to listen to the interview.
Legendary Actor Returns To Chicago Stage Where He Debuted 46 Years Ago

De Shields checked out the marquee of the Bank of America Theatre.

The other honorees included Broadway In Chicago President Lou Raizin, who received the 2015 Leadership Award for Excellence in the Arts, and Theatre School alumna Karen Aldridge, who received the 2015 Alumni Award for Excellence.

Honorees Lou Raizin, Broadway in Chicago president, Theatre School Alumna Karen Aldridge and André De Shields at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Honorees Lou Raizin, Broadway in Chicago president, Theatre School Alumna Karen Aldridge and André De Shields at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Class of 2016 Theatre School student Christopher Jones presented De Shields with the 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts. Over the course of the evening De Shields and Jones discovered numerous things in common – both hail from Baltimore, majored in English and have appeared in Ain’t Misbehavin’. In addition, De Shields appeared in his first August Wilson play King Hedley II at Arena Stage this Spring; Jones is currently appearing in his first August Wilson play, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at The Theatre School through November 15th.

“My art is my ministry, and that the Theatre School at DePaul University chose to honor me with the Award for Excellence in the Arts encourages me to continue my efforts in creative activism,” said De Shields. He concluded his acceptance speech by singing “Believe in Yourself ” to Jones, which was met with a standing ovation.

The Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts recognize distinguished artists and visionaries who have proven their dedication, talent, and leadership in support of the arts. All proceeds from the event directly benefit The Theatre School Scholarship Fund, supporting students from all over the nation to train at the school.

Among the more than 300 in attendance at the 27th awards gala were members of the Chicago theatre and civic community, including Alderman Edward M. Burke; Alderman Michelle Smith; director, actor Ron OJ Parson; director Chuck Smith; Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones; and artistic director of the Writers Theatres, Michael Halberstam.

Also, Theatre School board members Brian Montgomery, Mary Spalding Burns, Monika Black, Lorraine Evanoff, Penny Obenshain, Pat Slovak, Linda Usher, Tomer Yogev and Dennis Zacek.

Event co-chairs and Theatre School board members included Joseph Antunovich, Sondra A. Healy, Trisha Rooney and the Rev. Monsignor Kenneth Velo.

Major supporters of the event included Antunovich Associates, Exelon, Geico, PNC Bank, R4 Services, Schiff Hardin and Turtle Wax. Wedgwood USA, a long-time corporate sponsor of the Awards for Excellence in the Arts, provided the award pieces for the honorees.

“We are so grateful to each and every person who supported this event, and contributed to The Theatre School scholarship fund,” said John Culbert, dean of The Theatre School. “This crucial support directly impacts the success of the next generation of theatre artists.”

By the end of the evening, the 2015 Awards for Excellence in the Arts grossed more than $260,000 for the scholarship fund.

Students from DePaul’s School of Music provided live music throughout the evening. Many members of the League of Chicago Theatres donated tickets and arts experiences in support of the onsite fundraising initiatives.

The Theatre School at DePaul University educates, trains and inspires students of theatre in a conservatory setting that is rigorous, disciplined, and culturally diverse. Additional information is online.

André De Shields at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer, and educator. For his work in Chicago, he is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, one as Director for Victory Gardens Theater’s 1987 production of The Colored Museum, and two as Featured Performer in a Musical for the Goodman Theatre’s productions of Play On! (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book (2013). After HAIR, 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, De Shields 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 presentation of 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 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York-College at Buffalo.

Follow André De Shields on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/andrethegoatman and twitter: @Andre_DeShields. www.andredeshields.com

André De Shields sings “If You Believe” at The Theatre School at DePaul University Gala.

Theatre School student Christopher Jones, André De Shields and Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune theater critic at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Theatre School student Christopher Jones, André De Shields and Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune theater critic at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Christopher Jones (MFA Acting, Class of 2016)
Christopher Jones is an actor, writer, director, and improv comedian from Baltimore, MD. A passion for writing and reading fueled his undergraduate degree in English, with a concentration in poetry and drama, and minor in Art History.

At Dartmouth College he was president of the improvisational comedy troupe the Dog Day Players, sang in the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir, and acted in numerous theatre productions. Since graduation in 2009, he has performed extensively in Baltimore and Washington D.C. in various capacities. He has also worked for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theater Programs in the Mid-­‐Atlantic region and the Children’s Theater Association of Baltimore, MD. He is also a company member of The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and MainStage performer with the Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) where he founded the first troupe comprised of performers of color, Minority Re’port.

His credits include Seth Holly in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (The Theatre School), John Henry in The Day John Henry Came to School (The Theatre School), Jos-­‐B in Elemeno Pea (The Theatre School), Piragua Guy in In The Heights (The Theatre School), Jason in Why We Left Brooklyn (The Theatre School), Ain’t Misbehavin’(Spotlighters Theatre),
Franco Wicks in Superior Donuts (Fells Point Corner Theatre), George in Stop Kiss (Fells Point Corner Theatre), Wrick in Unraveled on the Gravel: a new musical (Spotlighters Theatre), Othello/Cassio in Othello: an adaptation for young audiences (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), Paris/Gregory in Romeo & Juliet (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), Antipholus of Ephesus in Comedy of Errors (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory), Lincoln in Top Dog/Underdog (Dartmouth College), Various Character in the Kaiser Permanente Mid-­‐Atlantic Educational Theatre Tour, and Osceola/Osman in Ananse, Brer Rabbit, & the Leprechaun (Children’s Theater Association).

Lia Chang and André De Shields at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang and André De Shields at the 27th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala held in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel in Chicago on November 9, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Other articles about André De Shields:
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 
Video: André De Shields sings Smile in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays
Video: André De Shields sings Street Corner Symphony and Mary Mack in CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. in Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays
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 
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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AsAmNews.com: The King and I’s Special Performance Benefits The Actors Fund
Playbill.com: Hugs, Laughs and Photobombs By Tony Winners! Go Backstage at the Special Actors Fund Performance of The King and I
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BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015
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AsAmNews.com: AAPI Heritage Month: My Grandmother’s Detention on Angel Island
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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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