Tony, Emmy, Grammy Award Winner and HADESTOWN Star André De Shields to Be Honored at Victory Gardens Theater Gala on October 24

Victory Gardens Theater will hold its 30th annual premier fundraising event, The Chicago Stories Gala on Saturday, October 24, 2020. The gala will honor the indomitable human spirit we all share at the not-to-be-missed evening celebrating the resilience of theater, the city of Chicago, and its remarkable leaders. The night will showcase an original five-minute play by lawyer Jill Wine-Banks, an MSNBC legal analyst who appears regularly on the network’s prime-time and daytime shows. Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor and Hadestown star André De Shields will receive the Victory Gardens Theater Impact Award in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the arts.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The 2020 Chicago Stories Gala will be a chance to support new work, mingle with friends and artists, and celebrate the exciting work of Victory Gardens. Proceeds from this event will help underwrite the cost of producing world premieres, providing education programs for Chicago Public Schools, and making theater accessible to all. Scheduled to take place at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 E. Delaware Pl., the 2020 Chicago Stories Gala plans include cocktails and dinner, auction, and paddle raise in support of Victory Gardens programming and entertainment. For the third time, Victory Gardens will host a VIP experience with Gala honorees and celebrities for guests at certain table and ticket levels.

Tony Award Winner André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony awards for Best Featured Actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Prior to his Tony Award win, De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, and The Full Monty. In a career spanning 50 years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the eighth 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 a 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for sustained excellence of performance, and eight AUDELCO Awards for Outstanding Performance, Direction and Choreography. In 2019, De Shields received the key to the city of his hometown, Baltimore, Maryland, from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young; the inaugural Harlem Week Pride 50 Award; the Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award; the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award from SAGE; the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre; and an induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.

Jill Wine-Banks

Jill Wine-Banks began her career as the first female organized crime prosecutor at the US Department of Justice, which led to her selection as one of three assistant special prosecutors – and the only woman on the trial team — in the case against President Richard Nixon’s top aides for obstruction of justice in the Watergate scandal. She has also served as general counsel of the US Army, partner at Jenner and Block, first solicitor general and first woman deputy attorney general of the state of Illinois, and first female chief operating officer of the American Bar Association. Jill was a corporate executive at Motorola and Maytag, the CEO of Winning Workplaces, and the head of career and technical education for Chicago Public Schools under Arne Duncan. She now serves on the boards of the Better Government Association, Governors State University, the Veterans Art Museum, as a Life Director of Executive Service Corps and others. She is the author of the 2020 autobiography The Watergate Girl.

Gala co-chairs are Anuradha Behari, Penny Brown, Rick Gray, Gabrielle Griffin, Steven N. Miller, Kate Tillotson, and Sue E. Wallace.

Gala sponsors to date include Visionary Sponsor Steve and Diane Miller and Premier Level Table Sponsors Rick and Dawn Gray and Allstate.

Individual tickets to Chicago Stories begin at $500 each. Table sponsorships start at $5,000.

To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Victory Gardens Donor Services Assistant Kelly Carr at 773.634.9858 or at For more information on the 2020 Chicago Stories Gala, visit

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 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.

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