Two-time Tony Nominee and Emmy winner André De Shields’ solo show FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory explores the life and achievements of the great emancipator Frederick Douglass.
“Though Douglass began his life as a slave, through heroic effort, he became one of America’s most important and historically influential icons,” said De Shields.
A story about brutality and deliverance—implausible yet historically accurate—that will captivate you with a slave ballet, hand-to-hand combat and impassioned singing. These are but a few of the elements that make up the journey from human bondage to freedom experienced by the young Douglass as performed by De Shields in his self-crafted solo performance depicting the Great Black Emancipator: FREDERICK DOUGLASS: My Eyes Have Seen The Glory. Gripping shackles, De Shields infuses his performance with dance, song and rousing spoken word as he transforms from embittered and illiterate slave to America’s incomparable orator and abolitionist right before the eyes of his audience. As performed by De Shields, Douglass’ ultimate escape from chains to freedom is full of hope and achievement as it is darkness and anger.
In a career spanning forty-eight 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 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, a 2016 Beinecke Fellowship at Yale School of Drama and 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.
As an educator, Mr. De Shields has served as Visiting Artist/Lecturer, SUNY-Buffalo State College; Harold ClurmanVisiting Professor, CUNY-Hunter College; Adjunct Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU; Adjunct Professor, School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions (SEHNAP), NYU; Distinguished Visiting Professor, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, TX; Algur H. Meadows Distinguished Visiting Professor (SMU); DR. Martin Luther King Jr.-Rosa Parks-Cesar Chavez Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Distinguished Visiting Professor, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA, among others. He has taught a wide variety of courses ranging from Shakespeare to Masterpieces of Western Literature to Musical Theatre and an interdisciplinary arts workshop in Extreme Performance: From Ancient Africa to Postmodern America.
A triple Capricorn, Mr. De Shields is the ninth of eleven children born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland. www.andredeshields.com.
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Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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 Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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