Andre De Shields to Direct Crossroads Theatre's AINT MISBEHAVIN


This summer is a busy one for award-winning Broadway star André De Shields. He has been nominated as "Best Leading Actor" for his title role in Charles Smith's new play The Gospel According to James, produced last Spring at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Chicago, Dennis Zacek, Artistic Director. Based on the doubling lynching depicted in the infamous Lawrence Beitler photograph, this drama involves the fictional meeting between a witness and a survivor of that seminal moment in Indiana history. The play garnered four Black Theater Alliance Award nods, including Best Direction for director, Chuck Smith and Best Writing for playwright, Charles Smith. The play was originally commissioned by and experienced its world premiere at The Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis.

Created to recognize excellence in Chicago's traditionally Black Theaters, The Black Theater Alliance Awards, Inc. (BTAA) was founded in 1995 and over the past 17 years, has become an important organization, and its annual Awards Event has earned a distinctive place in Chicago's cultural landscape. The Black Theater Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards program focuses on gifted local actors, singers, dancers, directors, choreographers, playwrights, set designers, lighting designers, costume designers, etc. For complete listing of nominees

De Shields recently returned from performing Charles Smith's play Knock Me A Kiss at the National Black Theatre Festival. On August 16, De Shields will depart for Umbria, Italy where he will take part in the First Annual La MaMa Umbria International MASTER ACTING WORKSHOPS (August 17-27). De Shields will teach acting workshops to students from around the globe who have come to the late Ellen Stewart's artist work center and residence just outside Spoleto, as will actor, director, teacher Tina Landau.

When De Shields returns from Umbria, he will begin rehearsals for Crossroads Theatre Company's production of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', the Tony Award-winning Fats Waller Musical. De Shields starred in the original production (Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway, national and international tours) and will direct this revival, October 6-24, in New Brunswick, NJ. He received an Emmy Award for his performance as the Viper in the NBC Television Special of Ain't Misbehavin'.

In a career spanning more than forty years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator. He is the recipient of the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival Living Legend Award, the 2009 AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical/Male (Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe), and the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. Mr. De Shields is best known for his show stopping performances in the original Broadway productions of four legendary musicals: The Full Monty, for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations, in addition to both the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards; Play On! (Tony nomination), Ain't Misbehavin' (Drama Desk nomination) and The Wiz (title role). At the Classical Theatre of Harlem, he has participated in five remarkable collaborations with its former Artistic Director, Alfred Preisser-as Makak in Derek Walcott's Dream On Monkey Mountain, in the title roles of Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe, Caligula and King Lear-resulting in a co-production with the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC during its 2006-2007 season, commemorating its seventy-fifth anniversary-and Langston Hughes' Black Nativity (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Drama league Award nominations/Outstanding Leading Man in a Musical). He received the 2007 Classical Theatre of Harlem Award for Sustained Excellence in the Theatre. As an educator, Mr. De Shields has served as Adjunct and Distinguished Visiting Professor at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he taught Shakespeare, and designed the Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop, EXTREME PERFORMANCE: From Ancient Africa To Post-Modern America. He was the DR. Martin Luther King, Jr./Rosa Parks/Cesar Chavez Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where he directed a multi-ethnic, pan-historical production of Euripides' Trojan Women.


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