Video: André De Shields, Shuler Hensley, John Larroquette, Carolyn McCormack, Barbara Niven and Tony Todd Join Dan Lauria’s KEEPING LIVE THEATRE ALIVE to Benefit NJ Rep

Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner André  De Shields (The Wiz, Hadestown, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, The Full Monty) is part of the exciting, innovative Keeping Live Theatre Alive! initiative, the brainchild of actor Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years,” Lombardi).  Lauria called upon dozens of popular stage and screen stars to help save regional theater by creating short videos of themselves reading their works, including monologues, stories, reminiscences, and poems – that they’ve written and posted.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

NJ Rep has made special performances featuring De Shields, Shuler Hensley, John Larroquette, Carolyn McCormack, Barbara Niven and Tony Todd on NJ Rep’s website. FREE of charge. Of course, donations are welcome, particularly in this crisis period. Click here to donate. More than 1.5 million dollars has been raised to date.

“Every sector in society has been impacted negatively by COVID-19, including theatres,” Dan Lauria said. “I wanted to raise awareness of the plight of these organizations while celebrating how actors are keeping their creative juices flowing.”

The lineup also includes includes Tony winners Judith Light, Laurie Metcalf, Bryan Cranston, Priscilla Lopez, John Lithgow, Judd Hirsch,  Hal Linden, Joe Mantegna, and Tony Shalhoub. Additional performers include Kim Brockington, Bruce Davidson, Stacy Keach, Dan Lauria, Jodi Long, Wendie Malick, Patty McCormack, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Lou Diamond Phillips, James Pickens Jr, Stephen Root, Charles Shaughnessy, Peter Scolari, Joe Spano, Chris Sullivan, Reno Wilson, Henry Winkler, and Robert Wuhl.

The alliance is comprised of Berkshire Playwrights LAB, Durango PlayFest, Seven Angels Theater, LaGuna Playhouse, New Jersey Rep, Penquin Rep. Like similar groups nationwide, each of these organizations canceled their summer performances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
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. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, and an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2019, he received 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 Wiz, Ain’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. His film and TV projects include Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”  on Netflix, Chubby in “Katy Keene” on the CW, and as Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch’s  new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Shuler Hensley
Shuler Hensley

Shuler Hensley
Hensley’s stage career began in the early 1990s with roles such as Pitkin in On the Town, Joe in The Most Happy Fella, and Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, In 1998, he was cast as Jud Fry for London’s National Theatre Production of Oklahoma! then continued to play the role when the show transferred to the West End (1999), and then to Broadway (2002–2003), where he won a Tony, a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Hensley also starred on Broadway in Young Frankenstein as the Monster and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. In 2011 he portrayed American Yiddish theatre great Boris Thomashefsky in The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater that later aired on the PBS series Great Performances.

John Larroquette
John Larroquette

John Larroquette is best known for his starring roles in the NBC military drama series “Baa Baa Black Sheep”(1976–1978), the NBC sitcom “Night Court” (1984–1992) (for which he received four consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), the NBC sitcom “The John Larroquette Show” (1993–1996), the ABC legal comedy-drama series “Boston Legal” (2007–2008), and the TNT fantasy adventure series “The Librarians” (2014–2018). He made his film debut by providing the opening narration of the horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), following which he appeared in films such as Stripes (1981), Meatballs Part II (1984), Richie Rich (1994), and the Hallmark Channel mystery television film series McBride (2005–2008).

Carolyn McCormack
Carolyn McCormack

Carolyn McCormack
In film, Carolyn’s breakthrough role was in Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid. Other credits include Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, You Know My Name with Sam Elliott, and A Simple Twist of Fate with Steve Martin. On TV she played district attorney Rita Fiore in “Spenser: For Hire” and appeared as the holodeck simulation Minuet in “11001001”, a first-season episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and later as Minuet Riker in a fantasy-alternate universe during the fourth-season episode “Future Imperfect”. A role she would become known for is that of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on NBC’s “Law & Order”. She has also been a guest star on “Madam Secretary,” “Elementary,” “Blue Bloods,” “Judging Amy,” “The Practice,” “Body of Proof,” ‘Cold Case,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and “LA Law”. Stage credits include Off-Broadway and regional productions: Eve-olution, Dinner with Friends, Oedipus, Ancestral Voices, The Donahue Sisters, Family Furniture,Vanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike, What I Did Last Summer, and Will Eno’s The Open House (Lucille Lortel nomination, Drama Desk Award).

Barbara Niven
Barbara Niven

Barbara Niven is an actor, writer and producer, best known for her performances in Hallmark Hall of Fame and Lifetime movies (including Stranger in My Bed, The Perfect Neighbor, Double Cross, Murder in My House, The Rival, A Valentine Carol, Black Widow, Heat Wave, My Mother’s Secret, Home Invasion, The Wife He Met Online, Fame’s Promise, Wedding Daze, and Back to You and Me). TV credits include roles in “Pensacola: Wings of Gold,” “Cedar Cove,” and “Chesapeake Shores” with Treat Williams and Diane Ladd. She is also known for her roles on the soap operas “The Bold and the Beautiful” and” One Life to Live” as well as guest roles in “ER,” “Cold Case,” “Las Vegas,” “NCIS,” “Charmed,” “Eli Stone,” and “Parks and Recreation”.. On HBO she played Marilyn Monroe in The Rat Pack and has appeared in films such as Under Lock and Key, Forest Warrior, Foxfire, Breast Men, Chasing Ghosts, Redline, Summer’s Blood, and A Perfect Ending. She is also a motivational speaker, media trainer, and animal rights activist and spokesperson, as a National Ambassador for American Humane.

Tony Todd

Tony Todd is an actor, film producer, and voice actor, best known for portraying Sergeant Warren in Platoon (1986), Kurn in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1990–1991) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996), Ben in Night of the Living Dead (1990), the titular character in the Candyman horror franchise (1992–2021), William Bludworth in the Final Destination franchise (2000–2011), Dan in The Man from Earth (2007), and as the voice of The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009).

André De Shields, Brian Cranston, Laurie Metcalf, Tony Shalhoub, Dan Lauria, and Priscilla Lopez Join Penguin Rep’s KEEPING LIVE THEATRE ALIVE 

André De Shields, Judith Light, Bryan Cranston, Jodi Long, Joe Mantegna, Laurie Metcalf, Dan Lauria and More Set for #theatre5alliance Project 

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: © 2000-2021 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

Kevin Mambo, Marin Ireland, Michael Luwoye, Mirirai Sithole, Russell G. Jones, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Ricardo Chavira, Segun Akande, David Anzuelo, L Morgan Lee and More Set for Atlantic Theater’s AFRICAN CARIBBEAN MIXFEST, Jan. 19 – 29 

Atlantic Theater Company has announced casting for African Caribbean MixFest, a series of free readings co-produced by playwright Guadalís Del Carmen and playwright, director and Artistic Director of the Young Vic Kwame Kwei-Armah, that will run virtually Tuesday, January 19th through Friday, January 29th.

This winter, Atlantic will present readings of full-length plays by France-Luce Benson, Guadalís Del Carmen, and Kwame Kwei-Armah as well as short plays by Jasmine Lee-Jones and Whitney White. Additionally, Atlantic Theater Company will commission Julissa Contreras, Dane Figueroa Edidi and Patrice Johnson Chevannes to create short one-acts and present them as readings alongside a short play by Jeff Augustin for this year’s African Caribbean MixFest.

MixFest is an annual festival of new plays that explores and celebrates a diverse range of stories from cultural communities worldwide. Beginning with Latino MixFest (2010-2014) and continuing with Asian American MixFest (2017), Middle Eastern MixFest (2018) and Immigrant MixFest (2019), this festival has showcased a wide range of new voices, many of whom have continued their collaborations with Atlantic. Most recently, Immigrant MixFest co-producer and writer/director Shadi Ghaheri received an Atlantic Incubator Residency during the 2019/2020 Season. Atlantic Theater Company’s Asian American MixFest included a reading of Carla Ching’s Nomad Motel directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, which was produced in Atlantic’s 2018/2019 Season. The company has also commissioned several past festival participants including Carla Ching, Lloyd Suh, Brian Otaño, and Sanaz Toossi.

Atlantic’s new play and musical development activities are made possible, in part, by leadership support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and The Tow Foundation, with additional funding from the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the Barbara Bell Cumming Charitable Trust, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Atlantic productions and programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Admission is free, with a suggested donation. Reservations are required. To RSVP, please visit here. For questions email MixFest@atlantictheater.org.

MEET THE WRITERS

Tuesday, January 19 | 6 PM ET

African Caribbean MixFest will kick off with a group panel moderated by Alisha Espinosa. Learn more about the writers in the festival, their creative process and what inspires their work.

LET THERE BE LOVE

by Kwame Kwei-Armah

directed by Reggie D. White

Thursday, January 21 | 6 PM.

Featuring Marin Ireland, Kevin Mambo and Renika Williams

Let There Be Love tells the story of Alfred, a cantankerous and aging West Indian immigrant living in London who has managed to alienate all those around him-including his equally headstrong daughter with whom he rarely sees eye to eye. When an idealistic young Polish caregiver, new to the country, is assigned to look after him, he experiences a powerful reckoning with his past.

MIXFEST DOUBLE BILL

directed by Dominique Rider

Friday, January 22 | 6PM ET

I USED TO LOVE H.E.R.

written and performed by Jasmine Lee-Jones

ABDUCTION

by Whitney White

Featuring Amara Brady and Travis Artz

A double bill of new work by two thrilling writers from either side of the Atlantic. In her solo piece, Evening Standard Award winner Jasmine Lee-Jones explores the language of love from 1476 to now. Obie and Lilly Award-winning Whitney White’s two-hander is set in a holding room of a spaceship, and the conversations inside start to feel frighteningly familiar. 

A COLLECTION OF SHORT PLAYS

directed by Danielle A. Drakes

Tuesday, January 26 | 6 PM ET

COQUITHCO

by Julissa Contreras

Featuring Segun Akande, Michael Luwoye and Mirirai Sithole

REFUGEES/SOLILOQUY

by Dane Figueroa Edidi

Featuring Dane Figueroa Edidi, Chris Herbie Holland, L Morgan Lee and Marquise Vilsón

IN ASYLUM

written and performed by Patrice Johnson Chevannes

UNTITLED PALM SPRINGS PLAY

by Jeff Augustin

Featuring Betsy Aidem, Russell G Jones and TL Thompson

Readings of three commissioned short plays by Julissa Contreras, Dane Figueroa Edidi and Patrice Johnson Chevannes, plus a short play by Jeff Augustin.

WHO IS THE CARIBBEAN IN AMERICA TODAY?

A Panel Moderated by Alisha Espinosa

Wednesday, January 27 | 6 PM ET

Hear from experts as they address this question through the lens of Caribbean history and the critical issues facing the African Caribbean community today, such as sex tourism, the effects of general tourism and environmental concerns. Our panel of thinkers will also explore matters of leadership and the role of art in Caribbean culture.

TIGRESS OF SAN DOMINGUE

by France-Luce Benson

directed by Awoye Timpo

Thursday, January 28 | 6 PM ET

Featuring China Brickey, Safiya Fredericks, Dan Hopman, Fedna Jacquet, Russell G. Jones, Guyviaud Joseph, Margaret Odette and Bechir Sylvain

Part II of Benson’s Haitian Revolution trilogy “Deux Femmes on the Edge de la Revolution,” Tigress of San Domingue continues the journey of Cécile, an enslaved African healer turned rebel soldier, and Valentine, a French expat caught between two worlds. As Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines continue the fight for freedom and equality, Cécile rises up the military ranks. Driven by a dangerous combination of trauma and ambition, she must choose between her obligation to family and their allegiance to the new nation rising from the ashes.

This reading was generously underwritten by Diane M. Miller.

A SHERO’S JOURNEY OR WHAT ANACAONA AND YEMAYÁ TAUGHT ME

by Guadalís Del Carmen

directed by Awoye Timpo 

Friday, January 29 | 6 PM ET

Featuring David Anzuelo, Christopher Cassarino, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Cindy De La Cruz, Jesus E. Martinez, Adesola Osakalumi, Judy Reyes and Ricardo Chavira

Zoila has had her entire life planned and laid out for her by her family and society. She finds herself at a crossroads when she falls in love with a friend from the past. When tragedy hits, she decides to risk it all. Leaving everything behind, she meets two ancestral figures, and together they embark on a journey that makes Zoila question everything she was ever taught.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company to Stream Rajiv Joseph’s RED FOLDER Starring Carrie Coon Beginning January 27

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

A strong opening for the new year, Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents Red Folder, the third of six productions debuting on its Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage.

Written, directed and illustrated by Obie Award-winning Steppenwolf ensemble member Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), this illustrated short begins streaming on January 27, 2021. Commissioned specifically for the virtual stage, Red Folder features narration by Critics’ Choice and Obie Award-winning ensemble member Carrie Coon (Bug, “The Leftovers,” The Nest), charming illustrations by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph and enchanting original music composed by Chris P. Thompson.

The red folder belongs to a first grader. It is the source of all his woes. Years later, he seeks vengeance.

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang
Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph shares, “I’m really excited about this piece, it’s unique I think; it’s something I never would’ve conceived of doing outside of the restrictions that the pandemic has imposed on us.”

Rajiv Joseph joined the Steppenwolf ensemble in 2018. His play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and in 2018 for Describe the Night. Steppenwolf produced Guards at the Taj to acclaim in 2018 and will produce the world premiere of King James in a future season (the original 2020 production was postponed due to COVID-19). Other plays include Archduke, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool and Mr. Wolf. Joseph has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. He is a board member of the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, where he develops all his plays. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Carrie Coon (Narrator) joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble in 2019 and was last seen at Steppenwolf in ensemble member Tracy Letts’s Bug, for which she won a Jeff Award. Other Steppenwolf credits include Mary Page Marlowe, Tracy Letts’s adaptation of Three Sisters, The March and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as “Honey,” a role that led to a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award. She won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for her performance in HBO’s “The Leftovers” and a TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama for her performances in HBO’s “The Leftovers” and FX’s “Fargo”. For her performance in Amy Herzog’s world premiere Mary Jane, she garnered a 2018 Lucille Lortel Award, an Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination. Recent films include The Nest with Jude Law, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and upcoming historical drama TV series “The Gilded Age” by Julian Fellows.

The original piano score was created using a technique called microtonality-an approach to tuning that gives access to the “notes between the notes.” Careful application of the technique can saturate musical flavors, making it possible to create harmonies and timbres with a subtly heightened clarity and harmonious glow.

Composer Chris P. Thompson shares, “Rajiv’s piece really resonated for me as a picture of how adults impose the anxieties and complexity of their world onto children. I found the palette of microtonality to be perfect for expressing that range. It begins simply, with pure-tuned piano and basic synthesizer waveforms. As fear and anxiety mount, the simple sounds of the score become more odd, dissonant and cutting. The synthesizer sounds gradually grow teeth. Eventually, the score is practically putting giant fists down on an out-of-tune piano.”

Chris P. Thompson (Original Music) composes electronic and acoustic music that tells stories and paints pictures of potent emotional states. His third solo album, True Stories & Rational Numbers, was released in October of 2020. Well-known in contemporary music circles as a longtime percussionist in Alarm Will Sound and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, he has participated in the world premieres of over a hundred new works and can be heard on 30 studio albums. He has appeared or collaborated with an eclectic range of artists and ensembles including Björk, Dirty Projectors, Foxing, Medeski Martin & Wood, the Metropolitan Opera, Nico Muhly, and Tyondai Braxton. chrispthompson.com

Red Folder was filmed and edited by Joel Moorman. Lead Animation Artist was Christopher Huizar with Joel Moorman and Rudy Schultz as Animation Artists. Additional credits include Elise Hausken (Production Manager), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director and Artistic Producer), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Christine D. Freeburg (Assistant Production Stage Manager).

Access to Red Folder is available with the purchase of a Virtual Membership to Steppenwolf NOW, which includes all six productions for only $75. Once released, all productions are available for members to stream through August 31, 2021. Discounted $50 memberships are available to essential workers, artists, students and teachers. Note: 20/21 Classic Members, Black Card holders and RED members receive Steppenwolf NOW content for free. Single tickets to Steppenwolf NOW shows are not available. For more info or to purchase, visit steppenwolf.org/now or call Audience Services at 312-335-1650.

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: © 2000-2021 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

RATATOUILLE: THE TIKTOK MUSICAL Raises $2 Million For The Actors Fund; Most Successful Fundraiser in Actors Fund History

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical has generated a total of $2 million to benefit The Actors Fund, making this the most successful fundraiser in Actors Fund history.

André De Shields (center), (Clockwise) Blake Rouse, Raymond J. Lee, Sophia James, Gabbi Bolt. via Ratatouille The Musical

Presented by the Tony Award-winning theatrical company Seaview, in association with TikTok and TodayTix Presents, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical premiered on Friday, January 1, 2021 on TodayTix with over 200,000 tickets sold, in addition to an encore performance on Sunday, January 10 on TikTok, with 150,000 viewers tuning in. Between the two viewing platforms, more than 350,000 people viewed Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.

Tituss Burgess, left, Andrew Barth Feldman and Ashley Park in “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.” Courtesy of DKC/O&M

In a statement, Joseph P. Benincasa, The Actors Fund President & CEO, said, “The collaborative spirit of the entertainment community was on full display in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical. The Actors Fund is incredibly grateful to Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Group for allowing this project to move forward; to Greg Nobile and Seaview Productions; the phenomenal performers and musicians; the remarkable creative team and the TikTok community for this groundbreaking benefit. Their dedication and generosity brought joy to arts lovers worldwide, raised unprecedented funds and points the way forward in 2021. That same collaborative spirit will help ensure The Actors Fund continues to foster stability and resiliency and to provide a safety net to everyone in entertainment and performing arts.”

“When Greg Nobile first approached us with the idea to produce a benefit event surrounding Ratatouille, never did we imagine that it would blossom into such an amazing outpouring of love and support for The Actors Fund,” said Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions. “What we all saw New Year’s day was a celebration of art and craft that was as charming as it was moving. It’s thrilling to see how the theatre-makers on TikTok and the Broadway community came together to provide aid to so many in need during this unprecedented time. Congratulations to our friends at Seaview, all of the artists involved, and our tireless colleagues at The Actors Fund.”

Greg Nobile, Seaview CEO, said, “We are so grateful to the TikTok community, the Ratatouille creative team, and our friends at Disney Theatrical Group and The Actors Fund for helping us make this joyous first-of-its-kind event come to life. In less than a month, we all created a new way of making art while raising funds for such a vital organization during this unprecedented time. I am hopeful that the success of this benefit will have a lasting impact as we work together as an industry to continue finding ways to champion new, diverse, and younger voices and audiences – whether it be online, on Broadway, or beyond.”

Joy Woods, Kevin Chamberlin, center, plays Gusteau, and JJ Niemann in the “Ratatouille” musical. Courtesy of DKC/O&M

This one-of-a-kind benefit starred Wayne Brady (Django), Tituss Burgess (Remy), Kevin Chamberlin (Gusteau), Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner André De Shields (Ego), Andrew Barth Feldman (Linguini), Grammy Award nominee Adam Lambert (Emile), Tony winner Priscilla Lopez (Mabel), Tony nominee Ashley Park (Colette), Owen Tabaka (Young Ego), and three-time Tony nominee Mary Testa (Skinner), with Cori Jaskier, Talia Suskauer, Nikisha Williams, JJ Niemann, John Michael Lyles, Raymond J. Lee, and Joy Woods as the ensemble.

Some of the TikTok users who created the “Ratatouille” musical: clockwise, from left: Blake Rouse, Nathan Fosbinder, Emily Jacobsen, Sophia James, James Penca and Katie Johantgen, Daniel Mertzlufft, RJ Christian and Gabbi Bolt.

The one-time performance of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical featured content created by members of TikTok’s #RatatouilleMusical Community, whose collective work has earned the engagement of more than 200 million fans around the globe, and was performed with the 20-piece Broadway Sinfonietta orchestra.

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical was adapted for this virtual benefit event by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, choreographed by Ellenore Scott, directed by Lucy Moss, and features music from Danny Bernstein (@dannykbernstein), Gabbi Bolt (@fettuccinefettuqueen), Kevin Chamberlin (@chamberlin_kevin), RJ Christian (@rjthecomposer), Nathan Fosbinder (@fozzyforman108), Emily Jacobsen (@e_jaccs), Sophia James (@sophiajamesmusic), Katie Johantgen (@katiejoyofosho), Daniel Mertzlufft (@danieljmertzlufft), Alec Powell (@phisherpryce), and Blake Rouse (@blakeyrouse).

The creative team also includes Daniel Mertzlufft (Music Supervisor, Arranger, Original Music & Lyrics, @DanielMertzlufft), Macy Schmidt (Orchestrator & Music Coordinator), David Bengali (Video Design and Production), Chris Routh (Set Design, @ShoeboxMusicals), Emily Marshall (Music Director & Coordinator), Jeffrey Gugliotti (Associate Choreographer), Tilly Grimes (Costume Consultant), Jessie Rosso (@JessieRosso) and Geoffrey Ko (Music Copying), Kate Leonard (Additional Lyrics), Michael J. Mortiz, Jr. (Audio Producer, Mixer, Master), Angie Teo (Audio Mixer), Cody Renard Richard (Stage Manager), Amy Jo Jackson (Dialect Coach), and Taylor Williams, CSA (Casting).

Jeremy O. Harris, Michael Breslin, and Patrick Foley served as Executive Producers.

Happy 75th birthday André De Shields 

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: © 2000-2021 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

Happy 75th birthday André De Shields

Happy birthday to Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Hadestown star André De Shields, who turns 75 today.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André kicked off the New Year playing the hard-bitten restaurant critic Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, presented by the Tony Award-winning theatrical production company Seaview’s (Slave Play, Sea Wall/A Life), with Jeremy O. Harris, Michael Breslin, and Patrick Foley serving as Executive Producers. The performance was a benefit for The Actors Fund Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund and has raised $2 million dollars to date.

André De Shields (center), (Clockwise) Blake Rouse, Raymond J. Lee, Sophia James, Gabbi Bolt. via Ratatouille The Musical

RATATOUILLE: THE TIKTOK MUSICAL Raises $2 Million For the Actors Fund; Most Successful Fundraiser in Actors Fund History 

André also lent his name to a fundraising email campaign for The Actors Fund in December which garnered 86 donations totaling nearly $85,000.

Joe Benincasa and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André is currently featured on Crossroads Theatre Company virtual stage, presenting excerpts of his musical Haarlem Nocturne interspersed with his reflections about creating the work, co-writing, directing and starring in the production. The encore presentation and conversation with Crossroads Co-Founder Ricardo Khan streams on the Crossroads website through January 17th. Click here to watch.

Ricardo Kahn and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

De Shields and Haarlem Nocturne have a long history with Crossroads. The musical, performed at Crossroads in 1994, pays homage to the nightclubs of Harlem’s golden age. “Mr. De Shields is family and we are excited to have him back at Crossroads to spend some time with us reminiscing and revisiting the creativity and artistry that brought Haarlem Nocturne to life,” said Khan. “We’ll also talk about the roles he played in bringing success to some of Broadway’s biggest shows including The Wiz, The Full Monty, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Hadestown, the show that brought him his first Tony in 2019,” he added.

For more information about Crossroads and the 2020-2021 season, please visit www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org

Tony Award Winner André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields as Hermes in HADESTOWN. 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. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, and an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2019, he received 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.

Theater Hall of Fame Class of 2019- Michael Price, Natasha Katz, Carolyn Capstick Meehan, André De Shields, Donna McKechnie, Emily Mann, Michael Feingold and Ann Reinking at the New York Friars Club in New York on November 18, 2019. Photo: Lia Chang

Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination).

The Wiz – “Y’all Got It” 

Actor André De Shields (C) w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”. (c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS
Actor André De Shields (C) w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”. (c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – “Viper’s Drag”

Nell Carter, Ken Page, André De Shields, Armelia McQueen and Charlayne Woodard in Ain’t Misbehavin’. Photo by Mignonette Dooley Johnson

Play On! – “Rocks in My Bed”

The Full Monty – “Let It Go”

THE FULL MONTY’S Marcus Neville, Romain Fruge, John Ellison Conlee, André De Shields, and Jason Danieley on the cover of TIME OUT NEW YORK in 2000. Photo: Dick Mitchell

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

In a career spanning fifty two 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. His film and TV projects include Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”  on Netflix, Chubby in “Katy Keene” on the CW, and as Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch’s new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

André De Shields can be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”.

Below are highlights of André’s interviews, performances and speeches during 2020.

Jan. 10: The Actors Fund Special Performance of 2020 was an unforgettable afternoon at the Tony Award-winning best musical Hadestown. Tony Award winner André De Shields rocked the house after the performance with a ‘curtain sermon’ about The Actors Fund that will be long remembered.

Jan. 26: André De Shields as Principal Soloist of HADESTOWN Wins 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album with Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, Patrick Page, Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anais Mitchell, Todd Sickafoose (Original Broadway Cast)

HADESTOWN Star André De Shields Shares His GRAMMY Award and Special Edition Bulova Watch 

André De Shields’ GRAMMY Award and Special Edition Bulova Watch. Photo by Lia Chang

Jan. 27: WJZ-‘Hadestown,’ Featuring Baltimore’s André De Shields, Wins Grammy For Best Musical Theater Album

Jan. 29: womanaroundtown.com: André De Shields:Old Dawg; New Tricks – Marvelous!

Photos and Video: The Cast of HADESTOWN Celebrates Rachel Chavkin and Jordan Roth at NYTW Gala

Jordan Roth, André De Shields, Khaila Wilcoxon, Kimberly Marable, Dana Lyn, Kay Trinidad, Rachel Chavkin, Ben Perowsky, Malcolm Armwood, Afra Hines, Jessie Shelton, Rachel Hauck, Liam Robinson, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Brian Drye. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside the 2020 TCG Gala: Our Stories Honoring David Henry Hwang and NC Black Rep’s National Black Theatre Festival with André De Shields 

André De Shields and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

March 9, 10, 11 – Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in New York, André performed his theatrical concert OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS for the Broadway Cabaret Series at Old School Square’s Crest Theatre and The Broadway Concert Series Presented by Vi at Aventura at Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.  Below are highlights of the show. Click here to read more about the show.

Mar. 23: André de Shields, Taylor Mac, Rachel Chavkin, Mia Katigbak, Clint Ramos, Lynn Nottage, Dominique Morisseau and More Launch THE TRICKLE UP to Aid Artists Loss of Income Due to Covid-19 

Apr. 8: ALL Arts TV- André De Shields performs in “A Hill on Which to Drown,” a stunning new play written by Kevin R. Free and directed by Zhailon Levingston, about an African American man who, on his death bed, leaves his legacy by staking claim to his own history as a gay man.

Apr. 10: Baltimore Native and Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award Winning Actor André De Shields collaborated with the Office of the Mayor to deliver an important message on how we all can stay healthy and safe during the #COVID19

Apr. 14: André De Shields performs in “A Hill on Which to Drown” | En Garde Arts presents Uncommon Voices

May 3 – THE FULL MONTY’s André De Shields, John Ellison Conlee, Jason Danieley, Romain Fruge, Marcus Neville, Patrick Wilson and David Yazbek Reunite for STARS IN THE HOUSE Click here to read more.

May 6: Badger Commencement 2020 Shout Out – André De Shields, ’70, offers a heartwarming message to the UW-Madison graduates of 2020

May 9 – André Received an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music at Berklee. Click here to read more and below for his speech. 

May 11: Theatermania interview 

May 12 – The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues – “COVID & Incarceration” collaborated with several arts and advocacy organizations – The Broadway Advocacy Coalition; The Confined Arts; RAPP; Zealous, The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School and American Friends Service Committee – to feature real stories from those currently and previously incarcerated, their families, and the advocates serving them during this global pandemic. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAI3w66jG2A/ André performed a monologue from A Father’s Sorrow, written by Shaka Senghor. This Special Edition of Viral Monologues is made possible by the support of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids. Click here to read more.

May 14: Katy Keene – Try (feat. Ashleigh Murray & Andre DeShields)

May 18: André De Shields, Lynn Nottage, Peter Jay Fernandez, Aja Naomi King, Jelani Alladin, Rebecca Naomi Jones & More Participate in THE 24 HOUR PLAYS: VIRAL MONOLOGUES; COVID & INCARCERATION; Airs Tonight on IGTV @24hourplays 

André De Shields in “A FATHER’S SORROW” by SHAKA SENGHOR Hear more from Elder Qualls and how you can support his call to action at https://www.NowHearUs.org

May 20 – NYU Gallatin’91 Alum André De Shields presented a NYU Class of 2020 All-University Commencement Message. 

May 26: Playbill: Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney, and more Hadestown Cast Reunite to Perform ‘Road to Hell (Reprise)’

May 28- The Jimmy Kimmel Show

May 29 – Yin & Yang, aka André De Shields and Garth Kravits, put their own spin on the Sam Cooke R & B classic, “Bring It On Home To Me,” accompanied by Andrew Gutauskas on saxophone.

Yin & Yang, aka André De Shields and Garth Kravits, put their own spin on the Sam Cooke R & B classic, “Bring It On Home To Me,” accompanied by Andrew Gutauskas on saxophone. When asked what inspired the pair to collaborate virtually on this song, De Shields shared, “my ambition for collaborating with Garth on what will ultimately be a series of duets is to restore joy and love to a world that has lost its way.” Kravits said, “André and I very quickly agreed that the essence of this cover and the others that will follow, would be fun, pure and simple. Just to enjoy singing with one another so that the viewing and listening audience might share in what we’re laying down.” Click here to read more the pair.

June 1 – NPR released the Tiny Desk Concert featuring Hadestown cast members, musicians and creator Anaïs Mitchell. The concert was filmed on March 2.

HADESTOWN at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert on March 2, 2020. Photo: NPR

The set list includes “Way Down Hadestown”, “Come Home With Me/Wedding Song”, “When The Chips Are Down”, “Flowers”, and “Why We Build The Wall.”

Cast members and musicians featured are: André De Shields: Hermes; Kimberly Marable: Persephone; Jewelle Blackman: Fate, accordion; Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer: Fate, violin; Kay Trinidad: Fate, percussion; Reeve Carney: Orpheus; Eva Noblezada: Eurydice; Patrick Page: Hades; Anaïs Mitchell: composer, vocals, guitar; Liam Robinson: piano, accordion; Brian Drye: trombone, glockenspiel; Megan Gould: violin; Ilusha Tsinadze: guitar; Ben Perowsky: drums; Malcolm Parson: cello; and Chris Tordini: bass

June 4 – A Virtual Town Hall: The Impact of Covid-19 and Systemic Inequity in Communities of Color, A Holistic Plan for Healing Our Communities via Zoom.

Presented by The Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the office of the Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the 42 members of the Coalition of Theatres of Color (CTC) a 501(c)3 not for profit consortium. The meeting addressed the proposed FY21 city funding for arts institutions. Given the codependent nature of arts, community and culture in New York, survival of CTC institutions is indissoluble from the survival of New York. The impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture community has been devastating. Each of our members – large and small – are struggling to survive the next few months and sadly many may not; drastically and irrevocably shifting the landscape of our field for many years to come. Today our institutions and missions are more vital than ever in playing a key role in the recovery of our great city as many of our organizations are more than just theaters. Speakers included Corey Johnson, Speaker of the NYC Council; I. Daneek Miller, Council Member, BLAC Co-Chair; Laurie Cumbo, Council Member, BLAC Vice Chair; Inez E. Dickens, New York State Assemblymember; André De Shields, Actor, Choreographer; Danny Glover, Actor, Activist; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Actor, Playwright, Director; David Martine (Chiricuhau Apache/Shinnecock); Sade Lythcott, CTC Chair, National Black Theatre; Diane Fraher, American Indian Artists Inc. (AMERINDA); Madaha Kinsey-Lamb, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center; Carl Clay, Black Spectrum Theatre; Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Rep; and Libertad O. Guerra, The Clemente.

Jun. 7: CBS Sunday Morning -On Broadway: Keeping the lights on. COVID-19 has shuttered stages on the Great White Way, but there are some traditions in Broadway theaters that can’t be totally turned off. Correspondent Mo Rocca talks with “Hadestown” star André De Shields, multiple Tony-winner Bernadette Peters, Broadway producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper, and Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley, the couple behind the “Stars In the House” web series, about how theater artists are coping with the shutdown by turning to a whole new stage.

Video: HADESTOWN Star André De Shields Talks About the Shutdown and The Great White Way Then and Now with Mo Rocca on CBS SUNDAY MORNING 

Jun. 17: André De Shields sings ‘dating in armageddon’

Jun. 17: NYTW – STAGING QUEERNESS with André De Shields, Leigh Fondakowski, Ryan J. Haddad & L Morgan Lee

Jun. 19: #ToBeBlack with André De Shields | The Public Theater

VIDEO: Watch André De Shields, Audra McDonald, Sterling K. Brown, Jelani Alladin, Denée Benton, Joe Morton & More in The Public’s #ToBeBlack In Honor of Juneteenth

Jun. 23: AARP Black Community Presents Virtual Chat with Tony, Emmy and Grammy winning HADESTOWN Star André De Shields 

Jun. 25: Video: THE FULL MONTY’s André De Shields, John Ellison Conlee, Jason Danieley, Romain Fruge, Marcus Neville, Patrick Wilson and David Yazbek Reunite for STARS IN THE HOUSE 

Jul. 3: André De Shields is Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory 

Jul. 7: Playbill-MLB Star Steven Brault Sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” With The Cast Of Hadestown

Jul. 9: “Sweet Home Chicago” COVID-19 Artist Relief Music Video

Jul. 9: Major League Baseball Players and cast of ‘Hadestown’ Cover ‘Wait for Me’

Jul. 23: Classic Stage Company: Classic Conversations with André De Shields

Aug. 8: André De Shields, Melba Moore, James Rado, Meshach Taylor, Treat Williams, Donna Summer and More Featured in VH1: HAIR-Behind the Music #158

Aug. 6: André De Shields Sings None Of Us Are Free

Aug 6: HADESTOWN’s André De Shields, Reeve Carney, Eva Noblezada, Kimberly Marable sing ROAD TO HELL

Aug. 10: André De Shields sings ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ for #ballotsoverbroadway

Oct. 15: Broadway on Demand: Class is now in session with Tony Award® Winner André De Shields. André is sharing some catalytic elements that you’ll want to put in your toolkit whenever you need to inhabit a character.

Oct. 19: André De Shields on #Food Network Kitchen’s BREAKFAST WITH BESSER 

Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on “Ain’t Misbehavin'”

Oct.23: PopMatters – André De Shields on “The Wiz”

Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on the Motown Revue

Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on Donna Summer

Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on “Hadestown”

Read more in André De Shields’ interview with Christian John Wikane at PopMatters.

Nov. 2: Bev’s Girl Films is presenting Yin & Yang, aka Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Hadestown star André De Shields (The Wiz, The Full Monty, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!) and Garth Kravits (The Drowsy Chaperone, Gettin’ The Band Back Together), putting their own spin on the Sam Cooke civil rights anthem, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” accompanied by Steven Cuevas on piano. 

Oct 21: In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation, all-star virtual event to benefit the Biden Victory Fund, presented by Broadway for Biden and directed by Tony Award® nominee Liesl Tommy 

Nov. 2: Sing Out For Freedom 2020: An Election Eve Concert in Support of the #ACLU & #NYCLU André De Shields, accompanied by Gaelynn Lea on violin. “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of the Nation” The final words of Congressman John Lewis as published by The New York Times. 

Nov. 17: Broadway Advocacy Coalition Presents BROADWAY VS Celebrating Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award Winning HADESTOWN Star André De Shields and Tony Award Winner Lillias White; Raising $34,183 for the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program 

André De Shields & Lillias White Inspire with Duet of ‘If You Believe’ – Behind-the-scenes: BROADWAYVS: André De Shields & Lillias White Sing ‘If You Believe’

Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Nov. 19: André De Shields, Billy Porter, Edward Enninful, Lee Daniels, and Rashad Robinson Received Native Son Awards. T. Oliver Reid and George Faison introduced André. Here is his speech.

Nov. 30: André De Shields receives 2020 AUDELCO Award for Lifetime Achievement

Philip J. Smith, Chairman Emeritus of The Shubert Organization, received the Father George Moore Artistic Impact Award at the Virtual Encore Ovation: A Celebration of Aging Through Art, presented by Encore Community Services on 12/3/20. Last year’s Father George Moore Artistic Impact Award recipient André De Shields sang ‘What a Wonderful World’ in tribute to Phil. 

Dec. 4: WJZ Holiday Memories with Tony Award Winner André De Shields

Dec. 9: Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winning HADESTOWN Star André De Shields to Give Keynote for Victory Gardens Theater’s VOICES OF TOMORROW Gala

Dec. 15: André De Shields Sings “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” a special arrangement by Jaime Lozano for Home for the Holidays Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids benefit concert 

Dec. 24: Video: ‘Blue Christmas’ Featuring André De Shields and The Fates -Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad From If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album 

Dec. 25: Watch: André De Shields and Steve Olsen Sing ‘Shine’ at Christmas Day Virtual Telethon to Save West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theatre; More Than $322K Raised to Date 

Dec. 29: Jelani Alladin, Chuck Cooper, André De Shields, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry and Billy Porter sang “Make Them Hear You” from the Tony Award-winning score of Ragtime by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and the chorus of the Tony Award-winning Broadway Inspirational Voices, led by founder Michael McElroy and featuring Norm Lewis, sang “Grateful,” by John Bucchino, at The Actors Fund virtual 2020 Annual Gala. 

Dec. 31: The Artist Dojo Interview

footlights: André De Shields and The ‘Ratatouille’ Whirlwind

vulture: How Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical> Came to Be (and Yes, Disney’s Okay With It)

acbsnews.com: How “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” was born during the coronavirus pandemic 

channel3000.com: UW–Madison alumnus to star in ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’

Playbill: Andrew Barth Feldman, Tituss Burgess, André De Shields, More to Star in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical Benefit

abcnews.go.com.: Tituss Burgess, Adam Lambert star in ‘Ratatouille’ musical

Deadline: ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’ All-Star Cast To Include Wayne Brady, Tituss Burgess & Adam Lambert

foxnews.com: ‘Ratatouille’ TikTok musical announces star-studded cast including Tituss Burgess, Adam Lambert

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: © 2000-2021 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

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth Calls for Investigation and Accountability over Allegations that Certain Servicemembers and Military Retirees Betrayed The Constitution During Coup Attempt

Press Release
Senator Tammy Duckworth. Photo by Lia Chang
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, today wrote to the Acting Secretary of Defense to request that the U.S. Department of Defense’s criminal investigative organizations cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Capitol Police in investigating whether members of the U.S. Armed Forces and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who remain subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, engaged in insurrection or participated in a seditious conspiracy that used force to oppose the authority of the United States, prevent or otherwise hinder the execution of the Electoral Count Act or unlawfully seize property of the United States. In part, Duckworth noted that if criminal investigations validate reports of servicemembers or military retirees participating in the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol, “it would be a disgraceful insult to the vast majority of servicemembers who honorably serve our Nation in accordance with the core values of their respective Services.” If such individuals are identified, Duckworth called on the Acting Secretary of Defense “to take appropriate action to hold individuals accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” noting that “upholding good order and discipline demands that the U.S. Armed Forces root out extremists that infiltrate the military and threaten our national security.” A full copy of the letter is available below and here. Dear Acting Secretary Miller: The attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 was one of the darkest days in our Nation’s history. Our allies and adversaries alike witnessed President Donald Trump incite a violent mob to attack a Joint Session of Congress and delay the execution of the Electoral Count Act. They watched these domestic enemies of the Constitution assault law enforcement officers and defile the United States Capitol. Now they are watching how the United States Government responds to this insurrection. Our Nation must demonstrate resolve and resilience in bringing the neo-Nazis, white supremacists and conspiracy theorists who formed this mob to justice. We must address deeply troubling reports that members of the U.S. Armed Forces, retired members of a regular component of the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the Fleet Reserve/Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, may have violated their Oath of Enlistment or Oath of Office by participating in a violent insurrection. If accurate, it would be a disgraceful insult to the vast majority of servicemembers who honorably serve our Nation in accordance with the core values of their respective Services. I ask that you immediately direct the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the United States Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Capitol Police in investigating whether members of the U.S. Armed Forces, retired members of a regular component of the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the Fleet Reserve/Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, engaged in insurrection against the authority of the United States, or participated in a seditious conspiracy that used force to: oppose the authority of the United States; prevent, hinder and delay the execution of the Electoral Count Act; and unlawfully seize, take or possess property of the United States. If criminal investigators determine that members of the U.S. Armed Forces, retired members of a regular component of the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the Fleet Reserve/Fleet Marine Corps Reserve servicemembers engaged in criminal conduct related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol, I urge you to take appropriate action to hold individuals accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Upholding good order and discipline demands that the U.S. Armed Forces root out extremists that infiltrate the military and threaten our national security. Thank you in advance for prioritizing my urgent request.
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: © 2000-2021 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: Turning the Page: LCT Artists Read Their Own Poetry and Prose Featuring David Adjmi, Ayad Akhtar, Sarah Ruhl, James Lapine, Jack O’Brien and Andrew Rannells 

Updated: January 15, 2021

The LCT SPOTLIGHT SERIES presented Turning the Page: LCT Artists Read Their Own Poetry and Prose featuring playwrights David Adjmi, Ayad Akhtar, and Sarah Ruhl, playwright and director James Lapine, director Jack O’Brien and actor Andrew Rannells reading from their own non-theatrical works on January 14.

New York, NY – August 7th, 2017: Ayad Akhtar posing for a portrait in New York.

Adjmi read from his memoir Lot Six: A Memoir; Akhtar from his critically-acclaimed Homeland Elegies: A Novel; Ruhl from her book of poetry 44 Poems for You; Lapine from his upcoming Putting It Together – How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George; O’Brien from his soon-to-be-published memoir Jack in the Box, or How to Goddam Direct; and Rannells from his collection of essays published under the title Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood. Introduced by poet Honor Moore (Ms. Moore’s latest memoir is Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury, published in March 2020). Click below to watch through January 24.

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: © 2000-2021 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

Reps. Lieu, Cicilline, Raskin Introduce Article of Impeachment Charging Trump with Incitement of Insurrection

Press Release

Congressman Ted W. Lieu

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressmen Ted Lieu (CA-33), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump this morning. The impeachment resolution is sponsored by Cicilline, with Lieu and Raskin serving as the two lead co-sponsors. It is also co-sponsored by another 211 members of the U.S. House.

The article of impeachment charges the outgoing President with a count of “Incitement of Insurrection” for his actions on January 6, 2021, when he delivered a speech inciting his supporters to lay siege to the United States Capitol, an action that temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes and resulted in the deaths of five individuals, including an officer of the United States Capitol Police.

“Last Wednesday marked one of the darkest days in the history of our country. After months of agitation and propaganda against the results of the 2020 election, the United States Capitol – the citadel of our democracy – was attacked as President Trump’s supporters attempted to stage a coup and overturn the results of our free and fair presidential election,” said the members, who serve together on the House Judiciary Committee. “We cannot allow this unprecedented provocation to go unanswered. Everyone involved in this assault must be held accountable, beginning with the man most responsible for it – President Donald Trump. We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies – foreign and domestic.

A copy of the article of impeachment introduced today can be downloaded by clicking here.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal on the Violent Attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Need to Immediately Reconvene Congress to Remove Donald J. Trump 

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: © 2000-2021 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

Ruben Santiago-Hudson to Helm MTC’S Broadway Premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s SKELETON CREW in 2022; Full 2021-2022 Season Lineup

In the winter of 2022, MTC will present the Broadway premiere of Skeleton Crew, written by Tony Award nominee Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud, Pipeline) and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues, August Wilson’s Jitney) at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

A timely and gripping Broadway premiere from Tony Award® nominee Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud, Pipeline). In 2008 Detroit, a small automotive factory is on the brink of foreclosure, and a tight knit family of workers hangs in the balance. With uncertainty everywhere, the line between blue collar and white collar becomes blurred, and this working family must reckon with their personal loyalties, their instincts for survival and their ultimate hopes for humanity. The New York Times gives this astonishing work a Critic’s Pick and cheers, “A very fine new play… warm-blooded, astute, deeply moral and deeply American.” And The Amsterdam News hails it as “a prime example of how theatre imitates life… intense, touching and funny.” Directing is Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues, August Wilson’s Jitney).

Also in Winter 2022, Off-Broadway at New York City Center Stage (i), MTC plans to present the world premiere of Prayer For The French Republic, written by Drama Desk Award winner Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, Significant Other) and directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (The Sound Inside, The Band’s Visit). Prayer for the French Republic is sponsored by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation’s Theatre Visions Fund program. Prayer for the French Republic was commissioned by MTC through the Bank of America New Play Program.

In 1944, a Jewish couple in Paris desperately await news of their missing family. More than 70 years later, the couple’s great-grandchildren find themselves facing the same question as their ancestors: “Are we safe?” Following five generations of a French Jewish family, Prayer For The French Republic is a sweeping look at history, home, and the effects of an ancient hatred. This powerful world premiere comes from acclaimed playwright Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, Significant Other) and director David Cromer, a Tony Award winner for The Band’s Visit.

MTC’s planned 2021-2022 season also includes the Broadway premiere of Lackawanna Blues, written, performed, and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with original music by Bill Sims Jr. in Fall 2021 and the Broadway premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive, written by Paula Vogel and directed by Mark Brokaw in Spring 2022 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre; and the world premiere of Morning Sun, written by Simon Stephens and directed by Lila Neugebauer in Fall 2021 and the American premiere of Golden Shield, written by Anchuli Felicia King and directed by Danya Taymor in the 2021-2022 season, off-Broadway at New York City Center Stage (i).

Exact performance dates and further casting information for all six productions will be announced at a later date.

Like the rest of the theatre community, Manhattan Theatre Club continues to closely follow the COVID-19 health and safety guidance of New York City and State.

“When conditions allow, everyone at MTC looks forward to safely having artists and audiences back in Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and at our off-Broadway home at New York City Center,” said Lynne Meadow.

In the meantime, MTC’s Virtual Season continues online with theatrical experiences, initiatives, and events that audiences can enjoy without leaving their homes. Details can be found at www.manhattantheatreclub.com/virtual.

MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB, under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over more than four decades, MTC productions have earned numerous awards including 7 Pulitzer Prizes, 27 Tony Awards, 40 Drama Desk Awards and 49 Obie Awards. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and two Off-Broadway theatres at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street). For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

TICKETING INFORMATION

Subscriptions to MTC’s new season of plays are now available by calling the MTC Clubline at 212-399-3050 or by clicking here.

Single ticket information for Lackawanna Blues, Skeleton Crew, How I Learned to Drive, Morning Sun, Prayer for the French Republic, and Golden Shield will be announced at a later date. Visit www.manhattantheatreclub.com for more information.

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: © 2000-2021 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

Jan. 17: DeWanda Wise, Alano Miller and Ted Lange To Co-host New Federal Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala Honoring Cliff Frazier, Ron Himes, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ed Pitt, Phylicia Rashad, Oz Scott, Beth Turner, Glynn Turman and Douglas Turner Ward

DeWanda Wise, star of the Netflix series “She’d Gotta Have It,” and her husband, Alano Miller, best known for the WGN America drama series “Underground,” will join Ted Lange, the actor, director and screenwriter known for the TV series “The Love Boat,” as co-hosts of New Federal Theatre’s “50th Anniversary Virtual Gala” January 17, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The event will celebrate the esteemed organization, founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, for its 50 years of theatrical excellence.

This virtual gala will be accessible from the theater’s website, www.newfederaltheatre.com, and will honor Cliff Frazier, Ron Himes, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ed Pitt, Phylicia Rashad, Oz Scott, Beth Turner, Glynn Turman and Douglas Turner Ward.

Attendees are encouraged to reserve early.

The celebration is written by Bill Harris and directed by Dean Irby. Honorary Committee for the event includes Debbie Allen, Harry Belafonte, Vin Diesel, Toni Fay, Danny Glover, Samuel L. Jackson, La Tanya Richardson Jackson, Sidney Poitier, Issa Rae, Phylicia Rashad, Lamman Rucker, Glynn Turman, Mfundi Vundla and Lynn Whitfield.

Special Guests:  Debbie Allen, Trazana Beverly, Mya Carter, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Debbi Blackwell Cook, Michael Dinwiddie, D.K. Dyson, Joseph L. Edwards, Elain Graham, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Ted Lange, Kevin Maynor, Ademola Olugebefola, Joyce Sylvester and Richard Wesley.

Editor: Natalie Morrow, Production: Stage Manager: John Scutchins. 

DeWanda Wise was last directed by Woodie King, Jr., the founder and Producing Director of New Federal Theatre, in Leslie Lee’s play “Sundown Names and Night-Gone Things” at Castillo Theatre in 2009.

Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre has produced over 450 mainstage plays, an astonishing and influential record of achievement, sending multiple plays to Broadway and launching numerous minority and women playwrights and actors into prominent careers. Its alumni are an honor roll of artists of color from the 1970s through today.

Several early successes brought NFT to national prominence: “Black Girl” by J.E. Franklin, won a Drama Desk Award, “The Taking of Miss Janie” by Ed Bullins moved from NFT to Lincoln Center and won the Drama Critics Circle Award; “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange performed on Broadway for ten months (co-produced with the late Joseph Papp) and was nominated for the Tony Award before embarking on a three-year national tour. It has subsequently been performed regionally and around the world and was revived Off-Broadway in 2019.

Among the performers who benefited from early successes on NFT’s stage are the late Chadwick Boseman, Debbie Allen, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad, Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Issa Rae, and many more.

For more info, including an expanded list of the company’s distinguished alumni, click here

Admission to this virtual gala is free and donations will be gratefully accepted. To reserve, click here or send an email to rsvp@newfederaltheatre.com. Suggested donations are $50 to $25,000 and can be made through Paypal at www.newfederaltheatre.org or by mailing a check to New Federal Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036.

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: © 2000-2021 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