Inside The TEAM’s 18th Anniversary Gala with André De Shields, Amber Gray, Rachel Chavkin, Vinie Burrows and More

Benefits, Events, Music, Performances, Photography

Highlights of The TEAM’s 18th Anniversary Gala will be featured on the 29th episode of BACKSTAGE PASS with Lia Chang, executive produced and hosted by Lia, set to air on April 9 at 1:30pm and 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, and Spectrum 56/1996, and stream on MNN2. If you miss the episode, it will be archived on my youtube channel.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

On March 27, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner André De Shields emceed The TEAM’s 18th Anniversary Gala at 26 Bridge in Brooklyn. The festivities kicked off with cocktails followed by dinner catered by The Fork Goes on the Left, performances and a live auction.

Founded in 2004, The TEAM is an award-winning, internationally-celebrated theatre collective, dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. Led by Tony Award-winning Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin, and spirited by some of the most wild and deep artists making today, the TEAM has created 11 works-including Mission Drift, RoosevElvis, and Primer for a Failed Superpower-and presented them nationally at theaters like The Public Theater, PS122, A.R.T, and Walker Art Center, and internationally at London’s National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Barbican, and Almeida Theatre, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, Lisbon’s Culturgest, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. www.theteamplays.org

Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Chavkin is currently directing the Broadway debut of Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play at the Hayes Theater. With The Thanksgiving Play, FastHorse becomes the first known female Native American writer to have a play go up on Broadway. She is also only the second known Native American Broadway playwright in history. The other is Lynn Riggs, a man of Cherokee descent who had six plays on Broadway between 1927 and 1950. The most famous is Green Grow the Lilacs, which was later adapted into the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, according to New York Theatre Guide

Larissa FastHorse, André De Shields, Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Current TEAM programming includes but is not limited to: the development of our newest “mainstage” work, Reconstructing (Still Working but the Devil Might Be Inside; The Petri Projects Program, an artist-driven new work development lab; and “Live From Mount Olympus,” a podcast of Greek myths geared towards a contemporary, young audience and featuring an all-star cast of actors from the TEAM’s network.

Amber Gray and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The TEAM’s Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin brought in her Hadestown family for the celebration as she introduced André De Shields and Amber Gray, cast members of the Original Broadway company, and Associate Music Director Sean Mayes.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

They performed a medley of (What Did I Do to Be So) Black & Blue and The Tragic Mulatto, accompanied by Music Director Sean Mayes, who also provided the orchestrations.

André De Shields and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Amber Gray and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Amber Gray and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Amber Gray and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Amber Gray and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields, Amber Gray and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances also included musical offerings from JJJJJerome Ellis (“The Clearing”) on saxophone, a story from Brenda Abbandalando (The Sign in Sydney Brustein’s Window), and an exclusive first look at Reconstructing, co-directed by Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) and Zhailon Levingston (Chicken & Biscuits) and featuring Eric Berryman (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Vinie Burrows (Light Shining in Buckinghamshire), Jill Frutkin (Mission Drift), James Monaco (The Conversationalists) and Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez (Taxilandia).

Zhailon Levingston and Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Reconstructing (Still Working but the Devil Might Be Inside), co-directed by Rachel Chavkin and Zhailon Levingston (Chicken & Biscuits), explores intimacy between Black- and white-identifying Americans in the historical and present-day context of a violently anti-Black USA. The work will operate on a meta-theatrical level, making the artistic process legible and holding up that process as a microcosm for “how we move through history together.” (Artist Eric Berryman)

Tom, Vinie Burrows, Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Reconstructing is collaboratively authored by Brenda Abbandondolo, Denée Benton (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), Jhanaë Bonnick (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Vinie Burrows, Rachel Chavkin, Eisa Davis (Bulrusher), André De Shields, JJJJJerome Ellis, Katherine Freer (Ride the Cyclone), Jill Frutkin, Amber Gray (Hadestown), Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play), Matt Hubbs (RoosevElvis), Modesto “Flako” Jimenez, Marika Kent (Catch as Catch Can), Libby King, Ian Lassiter (King Lear), Zhailon Levingston, Jake Margolin (Mission Drift), James Monaco, Kristen Sieh (The Band’s Visit), Nick Vaughan (The Royale), and Jillian Walker (SKiNFoLK: An American Show). Jillian Walker serves as Process Director. Milta Vega-Cardona serves as Process Chaplain. Rachel Chavkin and Zhailon Levingston are the Co-Directors.

Zhailon Levingston, Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez, Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Vinie Burrows. Photo by Lia Chang

Vinie Burrows and The TEAM. Photo by Lia Chang

James Monaco, Jill Frutkin, Zhailon Levingston, Eric Berryman, Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez, Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

James Monaco, Jill Frutkin, Zhailon Levinston, Eric Berryman, Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez, Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

André closed out the evening with “What A Wonderful World”, accompanied by Sean Mayes.

André De Shields and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

Mayes drove in from Toronto where he is currently working with the Canadian Opera Company Theatre as the conductor and composer of Aportia Chryptych, an opera featuring Black singers, which itself is about a Black Canadian opera legend: Portia White. Click here for more information. SeanMayesMusic.com

Sean Mayes and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Tom, Vinie Burrows. Photo by Lia Chang

George Abud. Photo by Lia Chang

George Abud and Lia Chang. Photo by Sean Mayes

Lori Tishfield and Andre De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Eric Berryman, Eric Emauni, Milta Vega-Cardona, Zhailon Levingston. Photo by Lia Chang

Larissa FastHorse, Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez, Keelay Gipson, Zhailon Levingston. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields and Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Libby King, Taylor Schilling, Amber Gray. Photo by Lia Chang

Amber Gray and guests. Photo by Lia Chang

Eric Berryman Gillian Glasco, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Doug Nevin, Britton Ashford, and Matt Ross. Photo by Lia Chang

Diana DiMenna and Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Thor Perplies, André De Shields, Jon Tilli, Karen Tilli, Jason Kemper. Photo by Lia Chang

Laura Elliott, Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez and TEAM’s Producing Director Emma Orme. Photo by Lia Chang

Modesto ‘Flako’ Jimenez, Laura Elliott. Photo by Lia Chang

Jake Heinrichs and Rachel Chavkin. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang and André De Shields. Photo by Lori Tishfield

Lia Chang. Photo by Kalin Ivanov

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist, documentarian and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, a weekly Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 1:30pm and 6:30pm, and Wednesday at 6:00pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and streams on MNN2.

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. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com

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