André De Shields, Melba Moore, James Rado, Meshach Taylor, Treat Williams, Donna Summer and More Featured in VH1: HAIR-Behind the Music #158

In the late 60’s at the height of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, and the Sexual Revolution, a brood of anti-establishment, avant-garde performers were creating a musical in Manhattan’s East village. What began as an eccentric, off-Broadway production became a cultural phenomenon and a worldwide success. In 1968, when “Hair: A Tribal Love Rock Musical” made it to Broadway it brought with it music that would not only tell a story but define a generation.

James Rado at the Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Narrated by Jim Forbes, this episode of the documentary television series on VH1, which originally aired on August 26, 2001, follows the story of HAIR- from its inception to its huge success – and the people that made it all happen, such as Michael Butler, James Rado, Galt MacDermot, Bertrand Castelli, Milos Forman, Treat Williams, André De Shields, Melba Moore, Diane Keaton, Donna Summer, Meshach Taylor, Walter O’Neil, Ralph Rieckermann and more.

Andre De Shields and Melba Moore at the Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony, Emmy, Grammy winner and Hadestown star André De Shields made his professional acting debut in the 1969 Chicago production of HAIR.  

Chicago Tribe. Left to Right: Carol Ruth, Valerie Williams, Chuck McKinney, Stan Shaw, and André De Shields in Hair. Photo courtesy of Ebony Magazine
Chicago Tribe. Left to Right: Carol Ruth, Valerie Williams, Chuck McKinney, Stan Shaw, and André De Shields in Hair. Photo courtesy of Ebony Magazine

“I did HAIR as my first professional show, fresh of college,” said De Shields. My only thought was, ‘They’re going to pay me to take my clothes off?’ I could live like this for the rest of my life. I knew then that I was going to spend my life in the theater. Being a member of Hair meant you were immediately part of a global family.”

“Hair: Behind the Music #158” was executive produced by George Moll and Gay Rosenthal, with Paul Barrosse (Supervising Producer) and Michael Vasquez (Production Consultant) and written by co-creator Gay Rosenthal and Michael Vazquez.

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 in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one 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. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.” De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

NYTimes: Why HAIR has endured

Coffeehouse Chronicles #139: André De Shields, Annie Golden, Dale Soules and More Set for LaMaMa’s 50th Anniversary of HAIR and James Rado’s 85th birthday on January 21

Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

André De Shields, Laura Benanti, Orfeh, Andy Karl, Jessie Mueller, Deborah S. Craig, Tamyra Gray, Santino Fontana, Kyle Carter and More Join BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY to Benefit Higher Heights and Field Team 6 on August 7

FEMINISTS IN ACTION and MOMTIVIST in partnership with HODG, CIVIC SUNDAYS, PERSIST HAPPY HOUR, and FACE THE MUSIC are presenting Ballots Over Broadway, an intimate evening of Broadway musical performances by your favorite stars of stage and screen on Friday, August 7, 2020 at 8 PM PST / 11 PM EST, hosted by Chris Mann.

Tony, Grammy, Emmy winner and Hadestown star André De Shields will reteam with Doug Peck, who served as Musical Director for the world premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, a co-production of The Goodman Theatre and The Huntington Theatre Company in 2013. Mr. De Shields received a 2013 Jeff Equity Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical for his critically-acclaimed role as King Louie and Mr. Peck won a Jeff Equity Award for Musical Director.

Anjali Bhimani, André De Shields, NIkka Graff Lanzarone, Monique Haley, Geoff Packard, Akash Chopra, Ed Kross and Govind Kumar in The Jungle Book at The Huntington Theatre in Boston on September 5, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang
The Jungle Book’s Jeff Award winners Doug Peck (musical direction) and André De Shields (Outstanding Achievement in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical) at the Drury Lane Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Il, on November 4, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

The evening will also feature performances by Tony winners Laura Benanti, Jessie Mueller and Santino Fontana as well as Eden Espinosa, Jared Gertner, Tamyra Gray, Shanice Williams, Andy Karl, Orfeh, John Tartaglia, Christina Bianco, Mykal Kilgore, Sabrina Sloan, Michaela Watkins, Bradford Anderson, Deborah S. Craig, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Melissa Fumero, Daheli Hall, Kyle Carter, Anthony Fedorov, Diana Huey, Kay-Ta Matsuno, Jennifer Paz, AJ Rafael, Jasmine Rafael, Christina Sajous, Heath Saunders, Nik Walker, and The UCLA Musical Theatre Class of 2020.

The evening will also include an appearance from special guest, Rep. Katie Porter.

All proceeds from the event will be divided between two organizations, Higher Heights and Field Team 6.

Field Team 6 is a national volunteer army with a simple mission: Register Democrats. Save the world. By targeting places that need Democrats most, we aim to take the White House, flip the Senate, and expand our House majority.

Higher Heights is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.

** Line-up subject to change. Click ft6.us/broadway to RSVP. Virtual link to be distributed on RSVP and link to recording will be posted after the event.

Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards

Nydailynews.com: Tony Award winner André De Shields, others tapped for ‘Ballots Over Broadway’ voter-focused benefit concert 

Playbill: André De Shields, Laura Benanti, Eden Espinosa, and More Tapped for Ballots Over Broadway

Broadway World: Orfeh, Andy Karl, Laura Benanti, André De Shields, Jessie Mueller and More Join BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY 

Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Watch: Virtual Birthday Bash for NFT Founder and Artistic Director Woodie King, Jr.

Woodie King, Jr.
Photo by Lia Chang

Happy Birthday to NFT Founder and Artistic Director Woodie King, Jr. who is 83 today. Click below to watch his all-star virtual birthday bash which also includes excerpts from Juney Smith’s documentary King of the Stage: The Woodie King, Jr. Story.

To donate go to: www.newfederaltheatre/support.

Celebrating Woodie – Dyane Harvey Salaam, Abel R. Salaam, Jerome Preston Bates, Ted Lange, LaTanya Richardson & Samuel L. Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Woodie Geoffrey King & Family, Michelle King-Huger, Michael King, Kim Sullivan, Kenny Leon, Claude Winfield, Glynn Turman, Debbi Morgan, Ben Harney, Marcus Naylor, Sade Lythcott & Jonathan McCrory, Sylvia Sprinkle Hamlin, Jeffrey Thompson, Leon Pinkney, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Dianne McIntyre, Vanessa Rubin, Ed Ridley, Michele Shay, Richard Harmon, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Chris Cumberbatch, Debbie Blackwell Cook, Patricia White, Count Stovall, Brenda & Leon Denmark, Lamman Rucker, Dominique Morisseau, Pauletta & Denzel Washington, Voza Rivers, Rhetta Greene, Oz Scott, Sonja Sanchez, Guy Davis, Keith David, Craig Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Ricardo Kahn, Eileen Morris, Jim Pinkens, Ron Himes, Herman LaVerne Jones, Lilias White, Irving Vincent, Peter Jay Fernandez, Debbie Allen, Debra Ann Byrd, Antoinette Tynes, Obba Babatunde, James DeJongh, DK Dyson, Dwight RB Cook, Gail Wright-Sirmans, Anna Horsford, David Wright, Kim Weston Moran, Ebony Jo Ann, Norma Jean Darden, Elizabeth Van Dyke. The Birthday Blessing Montage featured Peggy Alson, June Ballinger, Arthur Bartow, Jewel Brimage, Clinton Turner Davis, Andre De Shields, Starletta DuPois, Lawrence Evans, Kermit Frazier, Perry Gaffney, Yvette Heyliger, Tommie Hicks, Dean Irby, Chiquita Janson & Junior Sanders, Jacke Jeffries, Marjorie Johnson, Terria Joseph, Dianne Kirksey, Eugene Lee, Evelyn Nelson, Petronia Paley, Kay Radtke, John Rankin, Johann Rinehart, Diane Richardson, J.R. Saunders, Michael Sapp, John Scutchins, Seret Scott, Jonathan Slaff, Dale Shields, Juney Smith, Joyce Sylvester, Bill Toles, Stacy Waring and Ted Wilson.

New Federal Theatre website.

Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

Woodie King Jr. is the founder and producing director of New Federal Theatre and National Black Touring Circuit in New York City. He has presented over 200 productions in New Federal Theatre 47th Season, which began in 1970. In addition to producing Broadway shows such as For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, What the Winesellers Buy and Checkmates in which he also directed. This giant of a man facilitated theatre artists of every discipline. Many of the actors have become house hold names such as Glynn Turman, Phylicia Rashad, Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and so many more. Woodie recently received the Legends of Off Broadway Off Broadway Alliance Award.

kb saine, Woodie King, Jr. Michael Dinwiddie, Elizabeth Van Dyke and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
kb saine, Woodie King, Jr. Michael Dinwiddie, Elizabeth Van Dyke and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

NY Premiere Screening of Juney Smith’s Documentary KING OF STAGE: THE WOODIE KING, JR. Story

Lia Chang and Woodie King, Jr.

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. The Lia Chang theater portfolio collection,1989-2011, is in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) collection located in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room and can be accessed here.

Watch: Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winner André De Shields Joins John Doyle for CSC’s Classic Conversations

Classic Stage Company is presenting a new lineup of multiple award-winning participants in the free online version of its signature series Classic Conversations, hosted by John Doyle, featuring eminent actors who are also collaborators of Doyle and CSC.

Bebe Neuwirth, André De Shields and John Doyle at the American Theater Hall of Fame ceremony at the Gershwin Theatre in New York on November 18, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner André De Shields (Hadestown, The Wiz), who that same year performed in Doyle’s staging of As You Like It at CSC, is set for Thursday, July 23 at 6pm on YouTube.

Tony, Grammy and Emmy 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 in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one 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. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.” De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Quincy Tyler Bernstine as Celia, Hannah Cabell as Rosalind and André De Shields as Touchstone in AS YOU LIKE IT at Bay Street Theater. Copyright Lenny Stucker
Quincy Tyler Bernstine as Celia, Hannah Cabell as Rosalind and André De Shields as Touchstone in AS YOU LIKE IT at Bay Street Theater. Copyright Lenny Stucker

Other artists in the lineup include Emmy nominee Becky Ann Baker (“Girls,” Good People), co-star, with husband Dylan Baker, of the Doyle-directed Peer Gynt at CSC in 2016 (July 30); OBIE and Lortel Award winner Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Marys Seacole, Ruined), also featured in the 2017 As You Like It; (August 6); and Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley (Aida, The Lion King) (appearing August 13), who starred in John Doyle’s Tony-winning Broadway revival of The Color Purple in 2016.

Classic Conversations, inaugurated in Winter 2018 with an event featuring Raúl Esparza, has quickly become a treasured part of CSC’s offerings. In response to the COVID-19 shutdown, CSC reimagined Classic Conversations as a digital series with an initial lineup of guests featuring the cast members from Doyle’s highly anticipated upcoming production of Assassins, for which CSC will resume production when it is safe to return to the theater. Participant cast members have included Brandon Uranowitz; Will Swenson; Adam Chanler-Berat; Tavi Gevinson; Eddie Cooper; Ethan Slater; Steven Pasquale; Bianca Horn; Wesley Taylor; Andy Grotelueschen; and Brad Giovanine, Katrina Yaukey, Whit K. Lee, Rob Morrison,  four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn and George Takei.

Classic Conversations premiere Thursdays at 6pm on YouTube and
are available to view afterwards on Facebook and Instagram IGTV.

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

André De Shields, Orfeh, Andy Karl, Laura Benanti, Jessie Mueller, Deborah S. Craig, Tamyra Gray, Santino Fontana, Kyle Carter and More Join BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY to Benefit Higher Heights and Field Team 6 on August 7

Ballots Over Broadway, an intimate evening of Broadway musical performances by your favorite stars of stage and screen is set for August 7, 8 PM PT / 11 PM ET, hosted by Chris Mann.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Featuring Tony winners Laura Benanti, André De Shields, Jessie Mueller and Santino Fontana as well as Eden Espinosa, Jared Gertner, Tamyra Gray, Shanice Williams, Andy Karl, Orfeh, John Tartaglia, Christina Bianco, Mykal Kilgore, Sabrina Sloan, Michaela Watkins, Bradford Anderson, Deborah S. Craig, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Melissa Fumero, Daheli Hall, Kyle Carter, Anthony Fedorov, Diana Huey, Kay-Ta Matsuno, Jennifer Paz, AJ Rafael, Jasmine Rafael, Christina Sajous, Heath Saunders, Nik Walker, and The UCLA Musical Theatre Class of 2020.

The evening will also include an appearance from special guest, Rep. Katie Porter.

All proceeds from the event will be divided between two organizations, Higher Heights and Field Team 6.

Field Team 6 is a national volunteer army with a simple mission: Register Democrats. Save the world. By targeting places that need Democrats most, we aim to take the White House, flip the Senate, and expand our House majority.

Higher Heights is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.

** Line-up subject to change. Click here to RSVP. Virtual link to be distributed on RSVP and link to recording will be posted after the event.

Nydailynews.com: Tony Award winner André De Shields, others tapped for ‘Ballots Over Broadway’ voter-focused benefit concert 

Playbill: André De Shields, Laura Benanti, Eden Espinosa, and More Tapped for Ballots Over Broadway

Broadway World: Orfeh, Andy Karl, Laura Benanti, André De Shields, Jessie Mueller and More Join BALLOTS OVER BROADWAY 

Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

André De Shields, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Belushi, Keegan-Michael Key, Jeff Perry, George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Jessie Mueller, E. Faye Butler, Ramsey Lewis, Sandra Delgado, Jim Peterik, Lecy Goranson, Kurt Elling, Twista, Chef Rick Bayless, and More Sing ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ to Benefit the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund

An all-star line-up of Chicago natives and stars who got their start in the Windy City have come together for a new music video, performing the Blues anthem “Sweet Home Chicago.” Featuring an ensemble of more than 100 participants, all with deep ties to the Chicago arts scene, this star-studded celebration of Chicago will raise money for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, to help the many artists struggling in the wake of COVID-19 closures.

The impressive ensemble of participants in the virtual music video includes Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winners and features Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Belushi, Keegan-Michael Key, Jeff Perry, George Wendt, Joe Mantegna, Jessie Mueller, André De Shields, Alan Ruck, Rachel Barton Pine, Rhymefest, E. Faye Butler, Ramsey Lewis, Sandra Delgado, Jim Peterik, Lecy Goranson, Kurt Elling, Twista, Chef Rick Bayless, members of Joffrey Ballet, M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Dance Collective and many more.

The video is free to watch, but viewers are encouraged to donate to the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund.

The Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, a statewide program under Arts Alliance of Illinois, is a collaboration between the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and the broader philanthropic community, launched to provide immediate relief directly to individual artists and artisans, including stage and production crew members and part-time cultural workers, as well as art organizations, through grants to help those unable to work during this temporary shut-down. Since its launch on April 1, 2020, they have awarded more than $5,000,000 to more than 1,600 individual artists and institutions but due to the overwhelming response, there are still more than 7300 applicants awaiting funding, so raising additional funds is the current priority.

“I am incredibly grateful to the many artists, performers, and residents who lent their Chicago and Chicago-inspired voices to this absolutely heartwarming production of our hometown anthem and very worthy cause,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s the nourishment and joy the arts brings to our lives, however, our artists have also been among most impacted by the fallout from this disease. Since its inception, the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund has served as a critical resource to help our arts community stay afloat during this crisis and – most importantly – allowed them to continue to do what they do best, which is create. I have no doubt that this wonderful video will inspire more lovers of Chicago culture to step up, chip in and help keep our arts community alive and well throughout this unprecedented event.”

“Having launched my career working in Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene, it was heartbreaking to watch COVID-19 bring it to a halt,” producer Jason Brett said. “Like so many people, I wanted to do something for the arts community, but felt helpless – until I realized there are so many wonderful artists who, like me, feel a deep and abiding connection to this city. My co-producers Scott, Matt, Mark and our music director Jesse Nolan, have worked with so many talented Chicagoans over the years, that it inspired us to reach out to the community to collaborate with us in making a fun, uplifting musical project to raise desperately needed funds to help keep artists alive. The response was overwhelming, and within weeks we had enlisted an amazing ensemble of creative artists, all thrilled to sing the praises of their “Sweet Home, Chicago”. That’s the spirit of ensemble that built the Chicago theater community. But even as the state and the city inch toward normalcy, it’s going to be a while before performers return to the stage and venues reopen. So our hope is that this video inspires a sense of pride and joy, and raises money to help the Chicago artists and theatre companies who are struggling most right now.”

The full list of artists in the video includes (in alphabetical order): Edson Barbosa, Bril Barrett, Rachel Barton Pine, Rick Bayless, Jim Belushi, Melanie Brezill, Time Brickey, Tristan Bruns, E. Faye Butler, Dara Cameron, Matt Cashdollar, Thomas Cavender, David Chiriboga, Shantel Cribbs, André De Shields, Sandra Delgado, Star Dixon, Michael A. Downs, Kurt Elling, Annie Ermel, Aubriel Fields, Felicia P. Fields, Annie Jo Fischer, Joshua Funk, Cindy Gold, Lecy Goranson, Monique Haley, Brad Hall, Charlie Hall, Henry Hall, Anne Harris, Bernard Johnson, Mark Kelly, Heidi Kettenring, Keegan-Michael Key, Nicole Kyoung-Mi Lambert, Ramsey Lewis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nikki Lynette, Courtney Mack, Mallory Maedke, Ezra Mahler, Michael Mahler, Joe Mantegna, Megon McDonough, Dan McGuinness, Anthony Mosely, Jessie Mueller, Jesse Nolan, Jeff Perry, Jim Peterik, Jessica Redish, Rhymefest, Maisie Rose, Alan Ruck, Larkin Ruck, Julia Rust, Amaris Sanchez, Martin Saunders, Colten Settle, KJ Sheldon, Christine Sherill, Raymond Smith, Paul Oakley Stovall, John Toney, Cyrus Tong, Jessica Tong, Twista, Trey Vavra, Sam Wagster, Michael Weber, George Wendt, Jayden Wilson, Bobbi Wilsyn, Ellen Winters, Elise Wolf and Jeff Wolfe.

Production credits include: Jason Brett (Producer), Scott Silberstein (Producer), Matt Hoffman (Producer & Video Editor), Mark Larson (Producer), Jesse Nolan (Musical Direction / Arrangement), Andrew Twiss (Audio Mixing) and Frayne Lewis and Kerry Sheehan (Consultants, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events).

Please make your tax deductible contribution here: www.artsforillinois.org/sweethomechicago

WGN Radio: André De Shields and the producer of virtual ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ performance 

Rolling Stone: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Belushi and More Get Together for Chicago Fundraising Video

Chicago Tribune: Music video for ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ starring everyone from Rhymefest to Jim Belushi to Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a Chicago producer’s fundraising idea
Playbill: Over 75 Artists, Including André De Shields, Jessie Mueller, and Keegan-Michael Key, Join Forces for Blues Anthem ‘Sweet Home Chicago’
broadway.com: Watch This Rollicking Performance of ‘Sweet Home, Chicago’, Featuring André De Shields, Jessie Mueller & More
Wgntv.com: All-star benefit video of ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ to raise money for Arts for Illinois Relief Fund
Broadworld.com: VIDEO: Jessie Mueller, Andre De Shields, and More Sing ‘Sweet Home Chicago’

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Watch: Tony, Grammy, Emmy Award Winner and HADESTOWN star André De Shields is FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

André De Shields in “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory”. © Lia Chang

Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner and Hadestown star André De Shields explores the life and achievements of the great emancipator Frederick Douglass in his solo show, FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.

André De Shields in “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory”. © Lia Chang
André De Shields in “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory”. © Lia Chang

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. In his speech entitled, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” Douglass asked, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?”

In this video excerpt of FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, De Shields shares his perspective.

“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.

André De Shields as The Slave in “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory”. © Lia Chang
André De Shields as The Slave in “Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory”. © Lia Chang

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: Mine 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.

Below is the complete show.

Click here to read the full speech on PBS.

André De Shields

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 in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one 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. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.” De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Video: HADESTOWN Teams Up with the MLB for ‘Wait For Me’ and ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ 

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Tony, Grammy, Emmy Winner and HADESTOWN Star André De Shields, Dominique Morisseau and More Join The Black Theatre Network’s Virtual BLACK THEATRE WEEK

The Black Theatre Network (BTN) has been at the forefront of ensuring the survival of Black Theatre since 1986. Today, the nation’s premier organization of actors, playwrights, designers, technicians, academics, students and theatre lovers announced Black Theatre Week: A Virtual Event.

Dominique Morisseau and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

From July 27 to July 31, 2020, the organization will celebrate established and emerging voices from the Black Theatre community, nationally and internationally with panel discussions, conversations, readings, and performances. The week is free and open to the public, but registration is required for all events. Those interested can register for BTW here.

BTN’s 34th annual conference was scheduled for Detroit, MI July 24 – July 27, 2020. In addition to exploring best practices, the conference was to honor the city’s massive contribution to Black Theatre. The devastating effect of COVID-19 on the entire country forced BTN to postpone the conference and to plan a series of “virtual” events instead.

“We are pleased to continue supporting Black Theatre scholars, performers, designers, technicians, and all practitioners with our virtual convening #blacktheatreweek, BTN President André Harrington said. We will miss our face to face presence planned for Detroit 2020, but we are honored to be able to broaden our exposure and reach across the globe as we celebrate the rich and the beautiful world of Black Theatre, including Black Theatre artists from the city of Detroit.”

The Black Theatre Week schedule is as follows:*

Monday, July 27, 2020
2:00 pm -2:15 pm
Welcome from BTN President André Harrington and Vice President and
Conference Planner Chris Berry.

2:30 pm-3:30 pm
New Federal Theatre 50th Anniversary. Tony, Emmy, Grammy Award winner and Hadestown star André De Shields hosts this celebration! Select artists come together to honor NFT Founder and Artistic Director Woodie King, Jr. on his birthday and the anniversary of NFT.

7:00 pm-8:30 pm
BTN/BTW Zoom Kick-Off Party.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
2:00 pm-3:30 pm
Developmental Workshop Reading: BrokenHearted, a new play by Michael Dinwiddie. Based on the E. Lynn Harris memoir WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED, the play explores the sensational life of the bestselling author whose books exposed the “down-low” lifestyle to millions of readers. Proteus Spann directs.

5:00 pm-6:00 pm
BTN General Business Meeting #1 (BTN Members Only)

7:00 pm-8:00 pm
“Black Theatre: Radical Longevity:” A conversation between Detroit-born luminaries Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Time of the Temptations) and award-winning scholar, NYT best-selling author, and political analyst Dr. Michael Eric Dyson (“Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America”). Playwright, NYU Associate Professor, and fellow Detroiter Michael Dinwiddie moderates this marquee event.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
2:00 pm-4:00 pm
Voices From The Black: LGBTQAI+. Curated by Dr. John Shevin Foster, Voices From The Black: LGBTQAI+ is a presentation of monologues and 2-person plays that shed light on areas and subjects which are relevant today but usually hidden from the mainstream. Playwrights and casts to be announced.

7:00 pm- 8:00 pm
Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater moderates a conversation between Tarik Trotter (aka Black Thought) of the Grammy-winning Hip-Hop band The Roots and Academy and Academy Award winner John Ridley (Twelve Years A Slave) about their upcoming collaboration on the new musical Black No More. With music and lyrics by Trotter and a book by Ridley, the musical is based on the 1931 novel of the same name, a satire on race relations, by George S. Schuyler. The New Group is scheduled to produce the musical in 2021.

Thursday, July 30, 2020
2:00 pm-3:30 pm
BTN highlights its student scholar and design competition winners. The session offers presentations by Jazmine Logan (Randolph S. Edmonds Young Scholars Winner) and Judy Dearing Design Competition awardees Harold Horsley (Costume Design), Antonio Ferron (Scenic Design), and Rachael Blackwell (Lighting Design).

7:00 pm-8:30 pm
BTN partners with the Obie Award-winning Harlem9 for an evening of new exhilarating voices in Black Theatre. Founded in 2010, Harlem9 is a collaborative producing organization, comprised of a group of Black Theatre professionals from various backgrounds. The mission is to produce together, exploring the past, present, and future of Black culture, celebrating its rich and diverse history of storytelling.

Friday, July 31, 2020
2:00 pm-3:30 pm
The Black Theatre Preview! Culturally Black Theatres from across the country provide an exclusive look at how the global pandemic and the racial uprisings have affected their upcoming seasons.

“The Black Theatre Network is so happy to present Black Theatre Week! We have postponed our formal conference convening for Black Theatre Week as a service to the Black Theatre Community and to take a moment to celebrate Black Theatrical Excellence throughout the field, said Chris Berry, BTN Vice-President/Conference Planner. During these unprecedented times, the Black Theatre Network will continue to be a service organization for the Black Theatre. We hope that a broad audience will join us for the diverse programming during our first Black Theatre Week.”

Black Theatre Week: A Virtual Event is sponsored in part by DTE Energy Foundation.

The story of the creation and development of the Black Theatre Network (BTN) can hardly be told with full accuracy by any one individual. BTN is an organization where the labor of many has come together to form the whole, where individual contributions are too numerous to fully recount. We stand on the shoulders of the many selfless artists & academics who have made BTN what it is today.

The seeds of BTN were planted by the African American educators of the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts (NADSA).

These educators joined the American Theatre Association (ATA) when it became more receptive to people of color. In 1965, the Afro-Asian Theatre Project was founded under the ATA. Subsequently, the group within the Project interested in Black Theatre formed the African Theatre Project, which ultimately became the Black Theatre Program (BTP). It was 1985, at the ATA meeting in Toronto, Canada, that talk of ATA’s structural problems became a concern for members of the BTP.

In 1986, the inevitable happened: ATA folded. A group of Black Theatre devotees met in New York City at the National Education Theatre Conference (NETC), to bemoan ATA’s demise and to excitedly debate the future of the defunct BTP. Against the backdrop of the lobby bar of the Milford Hotel, these pioneers pondered the feasibility of creating a new Black theatre organization. This new organization would rise like the Phoenix to provide a service to those facing displacement while securing a haven for future artists and scholars.

As strategy sessions moved to New York University, the group faced its first major decision: to follow the safe path by joining forces with the newly created Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), or to tread on what was perceived as uncharted territory and build a separate nationalistic organization. During the 1986 meeting, as the hours passed and the debate raged on, the revolutionaries were determined to strike out on their own, and after much fiery wrangling, the decision was made to form the “Black Theatre Network.” Those who brought this vision to life were: Addell Austin-Anderson, George Bass, Buddy Butler, Don Evans, Kathryn Ervin, Winona Fletcher, Coleman Freeman, Floyd Gaffney, Errol Hill, Woodie King, Jr., Bill Lewis, J.W. Lewis, Vernell Lillie, Barbara Molette, Carlton Molette, Louis Rivers, Freda Scott-Giles, Archie Simpson, Marvin Sims, Lundeana Thomas, Barbara Votja, Rhonnie Washington, Von Washington, Ethel Pitts-Walker, Phillip Walker, and Allen Williams.

A communal position paper was drafted and adopted, officers were elected, and the Black Theatre Network came to light. The first officers were Ethel Pitts-Walker (President), Rhonnie Washington (Vice President), Addell Austin-Anderson (Secretary), William Lewis (Treasurer), Von H. Washington (Newsletter Editor), Marvin Sims (Program Chair/ Conference Planner), and an Advisory Board that included Winona Fletcher, Errol Hill, Vernell Lillie, and Margaret Wilkerson.

For more information about the Black Theatre Network, visit www.blacktheatrenetwork.org.

*Program subject to change.

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

André De Shields, Judy Kuhn, Heather Headley, George Takei, Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker and Quincy Tyler Bernstine Set for CSC’s CLASSIC CONVERSATIONS This Summer

Classic Stage Company is presenting a new lineup of multiple award-winning participants in the free online version of its signature series Classic Conversations, hosted by John Doyle, featuring eminent actors who are also collaborators of Doyle and CSC.

The new episodes include George Takei (Allegiance, “Star Trek”), who starred in Doyle’s CSC production of Pacific Overtures in 2017 (July 16); Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner André De Shields (Hadestown, The Wiz), who that same year performed in Doyle’s staging of As You Like It at CSC (July 23); Emmy nominee Becky Ann Baker (“Girls,” Good People), co-star, with husband Dylan Baker, of the Doyle-directed Peer Gynt at CSC in 2016 (July 30); OBIE and Lortel Award winner Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Marys Seacole, Ruined), also featured in the 2017 As You Like It; (August 6); and Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley (Aida, The Lion King) (appearing August 13), who starred in John Doyle’s Tony-winning Broadway revival of The Color Purple in 2016.

Classic Conversations, inaugurated in Winter 2018 with an event featuring Raúl Esparza, has quickly become a treasured part of CSC’s offerings. In response to the COVID-19 shutdown, CSC reimagined Classic Conversations as a digital series with an initial lineup of guests featuring the cast members from Doyle’s highly anticipated upcoming production of Assassins, for which CSC will resume production when it is safe to return to the theater. Participant cast members have included Brandon Uranowitz; Will Swenson; Adam Chanler-Berat; Tavi Gevinson; Eddie Cooper; Ethan Slater; Steven Pasquale; Bianca Horn; Wesley Taylor; Andy Grotelueschen; and Brad Giovanine, Katrina Yaukey, Whit K. Lee, and Rob Morrison. Four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn (Fun Home, Fiddler on the Roof, Passion) rounds out the slate of Assassins cast members tomorrow (Thursday, July 2).

Classic Conversations premiere Thursdays at 6pm on YouTube and
are available to view afterwards on Facebook and Instagram IGTV.

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

July 22: Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts to Present 29th Annual Summer Gala, A Starry Night, Hosted by Richard Kind and Featuring André De Shields, Ben Vereen, Raul Esparza, Melissa Errico, Betty Buckley, Josh Young, Hunter Parrish, Trent Saunders, Arianna Rosario and Juan Peron

Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts are presenting their 29th Annual Summer Gala, A Starry Night, hosted by Richard Kind, which will be streamed online on baystreet.org and other live stream platforms on Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m., with a red carpet preshow beginning at 7:30 p.m. Click here to register.

The broadcast will include a telethon, testimonials from actors and contributors as to the important role of Bay Street, and special performances from many luminary figures of the performing arts. Proceeds from the evening will support Bay Street’s educational and theatrical programs; in addition, ten percent of all proceeds will support the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank in Wainscott.

This year’s gala, titled A Starry Night, will be a celebration of the Broadway musicals of the 1970s, and will pay comedic homage to the celebrity telethon specials popular at the time. “For the past two years, Bay Street has celebrated Broadway by the decade in our summer Gala, and this year we’re thrilled to explore the vibrant and innovative musicals of the 1970s,” says Bay Street Artistic Director Scott Schwartz. “Since this year the event will be broadcast online, we thought: how better to celebrate the 1970s than through a loving and satirical take on the telethons of that era? With amazing performances from leading artists of then and now, songs from beloved musicals by some of the greatest writers of all time, and a playful script full of surprises, Bay Street Theater is excited to share its 29th Anniversary Gala with our local audience and musical theater lovers everywhere!”

To write the script for the show, Bay Street recruited the talents of playwright Scooter Pietsch, whose new comedy, Windfall, was scheduled to be staged for its world premiere during the 2020 Mainstage Season, and is currently planned to be featured for the 2021 season. Filming and editing is by Rich Ficara, a Director of Photography and Editor with more than 25 years of broadcast news experience, with work on NBC’s Nightline, World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and Frontline on PBS. Bay Street’s Executive Director, Tracy Mitchell, serves as executive producer, having been an Emmy-nominated film and television producer for over 25 years before joining Bay Street. Says Mitchell, “We are so excited to create a Gala which everyone can enjoy from coast to coast! And hopefully donations will follow to support artists and keep theater thriving, even if it must be virtually these days.” Paul Anthony, Bay Street’s Sales and Sponsorship Manager, served as associate producer, boom operator, and writer of interstitial sketches.

Under the musical direction of Andy Einhorn, special guests will be performing numbers from some of Broadway’s biggest musicals of the 1970s, including A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Godspell, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music, and The Wiz. Academy Award-nominated actor, producer, and director Bob Balaban, known for his work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Best In Show, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs, in addition to the 2015 Bay Street production The New Sincerity, will make a special appearance.

Key Performers include:
-Actor, singer, dancer, director, and choreographer André De Shields, whose Broadway credits include Warp!Ain’t Misbehavin’The Full Monty, Play On!, and the title role in The Wiz. In 2019, he originated the role of Hermes in the musical Hadestown on Broadway, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently garnered an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.”
-Four-time Tony Award nominee and OBIE recipient Raul Esparza, whose Broadway credits include the 2006 revival of CompanyLeap of FaithArcadiaSpeed-the-PlowChitty Chitty Bang BangCabaret, and The Rocky Horror Show. He recently appeared in Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.
-Winner of the 1973 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Pippin, Ben Vereen. Vereen is a two-time Golden Globe Award nominee for his performances in Funny Lady and Ellis Island, and a three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee.
-Melissa Errico, Tony Award nominated actress, singer, and author, who appeared at Bay Street Theater as Betty Comden in Make Someone Happy and as Kate in Kiss Me Kate. She has starred on Broadway in productions of My Fair LadyHigh Society and Les Miserables, and recently recorded her latest album, Sondheim Sublime.
-The legendary Betty Buckley, a multi-award-winning actress and singer whose career has spanned theater, film, and television. She is a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and the 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Awards from The Actor’s Fund for Artistic Achievement. She recently completed headlining the National Tour of the Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! produced by Scott Rudin.
-Tony Award nominee and Theatre World Award-winner Josh Young, who originated the role of “John Newton” in the Broadway World Premiere of Amazing Grace. He made his Broadway debut as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and recently won the New England Theater’s IRNE Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Tateh in Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of Ragtime.
Hunter Parrishwho appeared on Broadway in Godspell as Jesus, and whose television and film credits include Weeds, Still Alice, and This Is Us. He will be appearing in the forthcoming Ryan Murphy series Ratched on Netflix, opposite Sarah Paulson.
-Trent Saunders, who most recently played the role of Jesus in ACT of CT’s production of Godspell. He made his West End Debut last summer as Che in the Lawrence Olivier Award-nominated revival of Evita, directed by Jamie Lloyd, and is an original cast member of Disney’s Aladdin.
-Arianna Rosario, who performed the title role of Eva Peron in Bay Street’s 2018 smash hit Evita. Recently she was working on the hotly anticipated production of Kurt Weil’s Love Life, directed by Victoria Clark as part of New York City Center Encores. Broadway credits include CatsOn Your Feet!Cinderella, and West Side Story.
-Juan Peron in Bay Street’s 2018 production of Evita, Omar Lopez-Cepero, who made his debut in the role of Vincenzo in the Off-Broadway production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include original cast member of On Your Feet! and American Idiot.

In addition to the solo performers, an ensemble cast of special guests will come together to sing a select song as the gala’s closing number. Featured performers include Enhi Agwe, Kaden Amari Anderson, Kyle Barisich, Kelli Barrett, Jill Eikenberry, Dee Hoty, Josh Grisetti, Will Hantz, Jackie Hoffman, Meaghan LaFlam, Neal Mayer, Howard McGillin, Meaghan McInnes, Ethan Metz, Julia Motyka, Dakota Quackenbush, Lindsay Roberts, Steve Rosen, Anna Francesca Schiavoni, Erica Spyres, Bobby Conte Thornton, Rich Topol, Michael Tucker, Teal Wicks, and Cooki Winborn.

The host for the evening will be actor and member of Bay Street Theater’s Board of Trustees, Richard Kind. Known for his roles in “Mad About You” and “Spin City,” and more recently in “Red Oaks” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Richard’s Broadway credits include The Producers, The Big Knife (for which he received a Tony Award nomination), and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. He has performed as a voice actor in the films A Bug’s Life, Cars, and Inside Out, and has acted in such Oscar-nominated films as A Serious Man, Argo, and Bombshell. Bay Street audiences will remember him for his acclaimed performances in the productions of Enter Laughing, Romance, Travesties, and The Lady in Question. He has joined Bay Street for many past galas, where he has served duly as celebrity auctioneer.

Bay Street Theater is a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center, which endeavors to innovate, educate, and entertain a diverse community through the practice of the performing arts. It serves as a social and cultural gathering place, an educational resource, and a home for a community of artists.

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com