André De Shields and Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez Celebrate National Honor Our LGBTQ Elders Day in Las Vegas

Art, Performances, Photography, Theater

Harry Reid International Airport. Photo by Lia Chang

May 16 is National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day, a time to pay tribute to those who have paved the way for the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community to obtain and continue to seek important legislation and rights. We have numerous elders to thank for the strides made over the last several decades towards equality. As with other civil rights movements, their work has not been easy. Their struggles and victories are marked by courage, persistence, passion, and authenticity so, today, we celebrate them.

Harry Reid International Airport. Photo by Lia Chang

For National Honor Our LGBTQ Elders Day, Visit Las Vegas brought Broadway to the Vegas Strip with living legend André De Shields in a vivacious chat about how the community has grown in his lifetime. After over fifty years in showbiz, and becoming one of few to hold an Emmy, Grammy, and a Tony under his belt, the iconic actor (slash singer, dancer, director, choreographer) is no stranger to life’s pressures, but he always comes out with a song in his heart.

André De Shields at Harry Reid International Airport on April 4, 2022. Photo by Lia Chang

This episode is part of How To Be (in Vegas) — a new series on identity, empowerment, and everything an authentically inclusive environment like Vegas can inspire, with host Miss Nevada, Filipina American Kataluna Enriquez — the first trans woman to compete and win a title in the Miss USA pageant — and some favorite LGBTQ+ friends.

In a career spanning more than half a century, André De Shields has acquired a number of sobriquets, among them–“Broadway Deity,” “Professional Charmer” and “Papa Dré.” A showstopper at age 76, André was the triple-crown winner of the 2019 award season, garnering Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards for his universally praised role as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. De Shields has also distinguished himself as director, philanthropist and educator. His defining theatrical performances include roles in the original Broadway productions of The Full Monty (Tony Award nomination), Play On! (Tony Award nomination), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award) and the titular role in The Wiz. Currently, De Shields is experiencing growing pains as he prepares for his next adventure as Actor/Activist, eradicating the inauthentic while elevating the inexplicable. www.andredeshields.com.

Below are #bts photos during the shoot at The Barbershop at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, and shots of the newly renovated rooms at the Bellagio where we stayed.

The Barbershop at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Photo by Lia Chang

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez. Photo by Lia Chang

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez at The Barbershop at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang and André De Shields at The Barbershop in The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

André De Shields in front of The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in front of The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez. Photo by Lia Chang

Miss Nevada Kataluna Enriquez, André De Shields and the crew. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in the garden of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, next to “Sugar”, a Peter Alexander sculpture. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields in the garden of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, next to “Sugar”, a Peter Alexander sculpture. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

The Bellagio. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang and André De Shields.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is a Chinese-American actor, a multi-media content producer, an award-winning filmmaker, and a photo activist and documentarian, who lifts up and amplifies BIPOC communities and artists and the institutions that support them. She recently received the 2022 Prospect Muse Award.

Lia moved to New York from her home in San Francisco when she was 17 years of age and made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet. She spent many years working extensively Off-Broadway, including Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago. Her film work includes Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. The decades of being viewed by others through the narrow lens of “Asian actor” in the industry brought Lia to a turning point, and she picked up her camera, determined to create awareness by documenting the work and the lives of her BIPOC colleagues, resulting in the creation of thousands of photographs and pieces of video. Her photo archives are housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room under “Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011” and in the “Lia Chang Photography Collection” in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library.

Lia’s awards include the 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award and the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. She is also an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate, a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age, a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media, and a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

More recently, Lia co-founded Bev’s Girl Films, which makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. She executive produced and starred in the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative).

A retrospective of Lia’s photographs will be on view at the Museum of the City of New York later this year, documenting her BIPOC colleagues and contemporaries in the performing arts, which will include photos of Prospect Theater Company artists at work. www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com

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