Doug Peck, Taylor Moore, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields, Kimberly Lawson, Anthony J. Mhoon and Donica Lynn. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields’ CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens- Tech to Closing Night

Dance, Photography, Theater
Matt De Caro, Monica Lopez Orozco, André De Shields, Lauren Molina. Photo by Lia Chang

Matt De Caro, Monica Lopez Orozco, André De Shields, Lauren Molina. Photo by Lia Chang

The Chicago theatrical community turned out to celebrate two-time Tony nominee and Emmy winner André De Shields (THE WIZ, AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’, THE FULL MONTY, PLAY ON!) during the three performance run of his self-penned CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P., in the Začek McVay Theater at Victory Gardens this weekend.

André De Shields under the Victory Gardens marquee in Chicago on August 28, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields under the Victory Gardens marquee in Chicago on August 28, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Former castmembers and colleagues in the audience included Linda Kimbrough (THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES); Monica Lopez Orozco (CAMINO REAL); WONDERFUL TOWN stars Lauren Molina (FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE) and Matt De Caro (CAMINO REAL); Bobbye Natkin, Cordis Fejer, Cookie Gluck (WARP/Organic Theatre Company); Kimberly Lawson, Mario Mazzetti, Scott Gryder, Nick Sula, Sarah Wurz, David Lipschutz (WOZ);  Eric Nathan and Velma Austin (Mr. De Shields won his first Jeff Award for directing THE COLORED MUSEUM starring Ms. Austin, in 1987 at Victory Gardens).

Also in the house, Tyrone L. Robinson and Chris Sams (upcoming Drury Lane Theatre’s SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE), Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor, Jim Corti, Artistic Director at the Paramount Theatre, William Osetek, Artistic Director for Drury Lane Theatre and Chicago theater critic Jonathan Abarbanel.

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, Victory Gardens Theater’s Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellow André De Shields shared his riveting solo-performance which follows his adventure from inner city impoverishment to self-actualization.

Kimberly Lawson, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields, Donica Lynn and Anthony J. Mhoon. Photo by Lia Chang

Kimberly Lawson, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields, Donica Lynn and Anthony J. Mhoon. Photo by Lia Chang

CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P.’s cast stars André De Shields, Donica Lynn and Kimberly Lawson.

Doug Peck, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields, Kimberly Lawson, Anthony J. Mhoon and Donica Lynn. Photo by Lia Chang

Doug Peck, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields, Kimberly Lawson, Anthony J. Mhoon and Donica Lynn. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Dennis Začek and Samuel G. Roberson Jr., the creative team for CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. features Doug Peck (musical direction), Jake Huppert (sound design), Brandon Moorhead (lighting design), Austin Pettinger (costume design) and Charles Smith (dramaturge). The band includes Anthony J. Mhoon (bass) and Robert Reddrick (percussion), and guest percussionist Taylor Moore. Tina Jach is the stage manager and Nebi Berhane is Mr. De Shields’ personal assistant.

Taylor Moore, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Taylor Moore, Robert Reddrick, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Presented by Dennis Začek and Grippo Stage Co., Inc., CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. originally premiered as part of Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. 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 WizAin’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 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, a 2012 Fox Foundation Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement, Florida Atlantic University’s 2014 Making Waves Award, the Theatre School at DePaul University 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Riant Theatre’s 2016 Pioneer of the Arts Award, the Black Theatre Network’s 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award, nine AUDELCO Awards. 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

Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Photo by Lia Chang

Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Photo by Lia Chang

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

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

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

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.

Samuel G. Roberson Jr., Chay Yew, Lia Chang, André De Shields.

Samuel G. Roberson Jr., Chay Yew, Lia Chang, André De Shields.

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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