Hadestown star and 2019 Tony Award Winner André De Shields attended the grand reopening of Apple’s newly revamped Fifth Avenue store in New York on September 20.
Lines streamed around the block of the iconic cube for the launch day of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 5.
The first set of shoppers were treated to Memoji Karaoke with Mr. De Shields, who is currently starring as Hermes in Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre, and is best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), The Full Monty (Tony Nomination), and as the Wiz in The Wiz.
With a new iPhone 11 Pro in hand, Mr. De Shields sang his iconic number, “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard,” with his André memoji, custom created by Music Experiences Lead for Today at Apple Ron Ubaldo for the Memoji Karaoke performance.
After the performance, Mr. De Shields visited with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, Senior Vice President of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien and Senior Director of Worldwide Buzz Marketing at Apple Brian Brown Bartholomew.
André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 theater awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. In November, Mr. De Shields will be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and will receive The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre. In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. www.andredeshields.com
Now nearly double the size of its original with a higher ceiling and more natural light, Apple Fifth Avenue is a brighter, more expansive space, and the perfect stage for customers to discover and try Apple’s newest products. A new Forum will be home to free, daily Today at Apple programming, which kicks off Saturday with a special series that captures the creative spirit of New York. The area dedicated to Geniuses has also doubled, allowing the team to dramatically increase service capacity. The Apple Fifth Avenue store is the only Apple retail location open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Click here for Today at Apple events running from September 21-29.
The redesigned plaza is lined by 28 honey locust trees bordered with linear fountains providing a welcome and quiet setting to gather and sit. At the center stands the dramatic glass cube flanked by 18 mirror-glass Skylenses and 62 skylights that flood natural light into the expanded store below. Visitors enter by descending the new stainless steel spiral staircase, or by riding the dynamic circular elevator into the grand hall. The staircase is a remarkable design achievement with 43 cantilevered stair treads that support a floating cylinder of glass. Above is a back-lit, cloud-like ceiling made from curved fabric that combines artificial and natural light to match the real-time tones of sunlight throughout the day.
Steve Jobs opened the store in 2006 and personally welcomed the first customers to enter the cube. Since then, Apple Fifth Avenue has had over 57 million visitors, more annually than the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building. The glass cube has been a beacon and an important focal point for product launches starting with the first iPhone in 2007.
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 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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