BTN President kb saine presents André De Shields with the 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award at BTN's 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Black Theatre Network Honors CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. Star André De Shields

Awards, Photography, Theater
2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award recipients André De Shields and Marcia Pendleton at BTN's 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award recipients André De Shields and Marcia Pendleton at BTN’s 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

In Chicago on August 9, 2016, two-time Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner André De Shields was honored by the Black Theatre Network with the 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement and Excellence in Black Theatre.

BTN President kb saine presents André De Shields with the 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award at BTN's 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

BTN President kb saine presents André De Shields with the 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award at BTN’s 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Walk Tall Girl Productions Founder and President Marcia Pendleton (Winona Lee Fletcher Award), playwright Dominique Morisseau (BTN Presidential Pathfinder Award), Gregory J. Horton (Lifetime Membership Award) and Dr. Hely Perez (Lifetime Membership Award) were also honored at Black Theatre: Future Forward, the Black Theatre Network’s 30th anniversary bruncheon, which was held in the Honore Room at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Scroll down for photos!

Black Theatre Network (BTN) is the nation’s preeminent organization of scholars, artists, students, and educators dedicated to the study and promulgation of black theatre.

André De Shields and Ntozake Shange at BTN's 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Ntozake Shange at BTN’s 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

The Winona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement and Excellence in Black Theatre was established in 1994 and named after the leading theatre educator Dr. Winona Lee Fletcher. Past illustrious recipients include Ed Burbridge, Vinnie Burrows, Vinnette Carroll, Pearl Cleage, Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier, Lloyd Richards, Philip Rose, Ntozake Shange and Glynn Turman.

Mr. De Shields kicked off the morning by leading Theatre Church in the Chicago Room.

He closed out the bruncheon with his rendition of  ‘Smile’ from his self-penned CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., accompanied on double bass by Anthony J. Mhoon.

After the bruncheon, he met with students for a Q & A session in the Wilson Room.

Mr. De Shields is currently in Chicago rehearsing CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., which 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.

Andre De Shields_P.I.M.P. flyer 1c -2

Presented by Dennis Začek and Grippo Stage Co., Inc., CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., is written and performed by Mr. De Shields, and directed by Samuel G. Roberson and Dennis Začek. The cast also includes Kimberly Lawson and Donica Lynn.

Donica Lynn as Mau Mau Bett and André De Shields as Baba Femi. Photo by Lia Chang

Donica Lynn as Mau Mau Bett and André De Shields as Baba Femi. Photo by Lia Chang

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

André De Shields at BTN's 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields at BTN’s 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

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. 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 Huppert (sound design), Brandon Moorhead (lighting design), Austin Pettinger (costume design) and Charles Smith (dramaturge). 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

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

André De Shields at BTN's 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields at BTN’s 30th Anniversary Bruncheon at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on August 9, 2016. 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 Mr. De Shields’ 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. www.andredeshields.com

Highlights of the bruncheon.

Video: 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

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 

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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One thought on “Black Theatre Network Honors CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. Star André De Shields

  1. What I enjoy about your photojournalism is that the images tell one story; the copy tells a second story; then, when the two conflate, there is even a third and best story to be told. I am pleased and–yes–honored to be the subject of both your camera and your pen.

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