Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Andre De Shields navigates the theater 'Jungle'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 3780 times since Wed Jun 26, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Andre De Shields is a natural born performer and a triple threat with acting, singing, and dancing. He is also accomplished in directing, writing and teaching.

After college he choreographed Bette Midler's concert and starred in The Wiz on Broadway. He continued on The Great White Way with Ain't Misbehavin' and The Full Monty.

He performed in the Goodman Theatre's production of Camino Real, where he only simulated sex but was murdered onstage. He follows that with a return to that venue as King Louie in The Jungle Book. Windy City Times went backstage at the iconic theater's gala dinner to chat a bit with the entertainer. [Note: De Shields is in a same-sex relationship and introduced his partner to WCT.]

Windy City Times: Hey, Andre. How long have you been in the biz?

Andre De Shields: Forty-five years. I started here in Chicago. You need to know that fact.

WCT: Are you from Chicago?

Andre De Shields: No, but when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, my first gig was in Chicago the very month I graduate. That was the Chicago production of Hair at the Shubert Theatre, now called the Bank of America Theatre.

I worked here for four years then I went to New York and they assumed I was Chicago talent, which I was in terms of how I honed my talent but I wasn't born and bred in Chicago. I get welcomed back here like a favorite son and I am happy about that.

WCT: How was it working with Bette Midler?

Andre De Shields: My relationship with Bette Midler is important because I was the first person to choreograph her Harlettes. This was in 1971. when it was Merle Miller, Gail Kantor and Melissa Manchester—three white women.

WCT: You have done so many shows in the past, like Ain't Misbehavin' and The Wiz. What part did you play in that?

Andre De Shields: Want to guess?

WCT: I could see you playing a few different parts.

Andre De Shields: I was The Wiz.

WCT: What did you think of the movie?

Andre De Shields: There are easier ways of losing 33 million dollars!

WCT: How did you become involved with The Jungle Book?

Andre De Shields: Mary Zimmerman was casting and came to New York. She asked to interview me. We had a sit down conversation and we spoke for a half hour. We bonded rather quickly and then I got the call.

WCT: How do you make the role your own?

Andre De Shields: Didn't you just witness what I did tonight? [Laughs] That is how I make it my own.

WCT: It would just be easy to emulate the Disney cartoon.

Andre De Shields: I saw the Disney Jungle Book many years ago in my formative years. Because it is in the canon of American fairy tales ,I am left with some impression of it. When I knew I would be doing this role I went back to 2004 when briefly I performed in a play on Broadway called Prymate. Google it and you will understand my next statement. I wanted to finish the work that I started in Prymate. That is what I am doing with King Louie in The Jungle Book.

WCT: Were you always a ham? I saw some hamming up at this preview.

Andre De Shields: I suppose that is a fair way of describing me, but I would never describe myself as a ham. What I would say is I am happiest when I am onstage in a follow spot singing my ass off.

WCT: I like how you interacted with the crowd. Do you do that in the stage version?

Andre De Shields: This is a concert, so especially in these gala performances—with the audience so far away from us and [with them] eating and drinking—you really want them to understand this is participation. This isn't television. This isn't passive entertainment. You have to be involved in order to see what it is you came to get!

WCT: How was the last show you did at the Goodman Camino Real?

Andre De Shields: It was a very significant experience not only because it opened a window onto Tennessee Williams that I believe he had been cheated of these many years that he has been playwright laureate of the United States of America. What I understood about his canon, and iconic characters they are all alter egos of Tennessee Williams. I am positive about this now that I have been in Camino Real.

The other reason that it was significant for me is that theater is the place to take risks. That doesn't happen very often or as often as I think it should but in that production it was risk repeatedly taken. It made people uncomfortable but you have got to understand that is part of the reason of coming to the theater, to be challenged and be taken out of your comfort zone. The covenant that we make with the audience is that we will challenge you but we won't harm you so take the trip with us.

WCT: You have a few projects coming up, including one with Victory Gardens Theater.

Andre De Shields: They are happening simultaneously. I have a residency and Victory Gardens is my host theater. So when I am not at the Goodman I will be there.

WCT: How you do you do it all?

Andre De Shields: I don't get much sleep!

The new musical based on the Disney film and stories by Rudyard Kipling runs now through Aug. 4 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.

For tickets and information, visit .

This article shared 3780 times since Wed Jun 26, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

SHOWBIZ John Waters, Madonna, Miriam Margoyles, Angelica Ross, 'Cassandro' 2023-09-21
- Openly gay film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, Cry-Baby) received his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Reporter noted. (Actors Ricki Lake and Mink Stole as well as photographer Greg Gorman were ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kim Petras, LGBTQ+ movies, TIFF, canceled shows, yachts 2023-09-15
Video below - Ahead of her Feed the Beast world tour, Grammy-winning international trans pop singer/songwriter Kim Petras has shared reimagined, symphonic, seven-piece string-ensemble performances of fan favorites from her debut album Feed ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer actor Kyle Patrick reflects on leading 'American Psycho: The Musical' 2023-09-14
- American Psycho—both the Bret Easton Ellis novel and the Mary Harron-directed film led by Christian Bale—would seem ripe for a musical treatment, given the omnipresent campy elements (despite, or maybe because of, the gore). And, in ...

Gay News

Chicago Opera Theater starts 50th-anniv. season with 'Soldier Songs' 2023-09-13
- Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is kicking off its 50th-anniversary season with David T. Little's Grammy-nominated Soldier Songs—described as "a haunting, heavy-metal infused theatrical cantata about the psychological impact of war." ...

Gay News

Porchlight Music Theatre's announces 29th season 2023-09-12
--From a press release - This past Friday at our special event, Porchlight ICONS: Celebrating Ben Vereen, we shared the exclusive announcement of our 29th Season! The new season launches with The Cole Porter Festival - A Celebration of the Man ...

Gay News

THEATER Jim Henson production in Chicago on Nov. 14-Dec. 31 2023-09-12
- A live theatrical adaptation of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is making its Chicago debut Nov. 14-Dec. 31, at the Studebaker Theater at the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Broadway World revealed. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Sex Education' star, Rotten Tomatoes, Jessica Lange, Queer/Art 2023-09-08
Video below - Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa officially came out during an interview with Elle UK, according to Out. "I remember being at Manchester Pride, going through the streets with all my boys, shaking my cha-chas, living it ...

Gay News

Theater Review: A Taste of Soul brings music and food center stage 2023-09-08
By Brian Kirst - We all know the sluggish quagmire of weekday work mornings. Often the only thing that gets us moving and able to face the day is our favorite songs. While all of the Black Ensemble Theater productions ...

Gay News

Steppenwolf to present Broadway's Jeremy Jordan on Jan. 13 2023-09-06
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Mark Cortale will present Broadway star Jeremy Jordan in his Chicago debut, performing two shows only on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 at 2 and 8 p.m. in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. ...

Gay News

Mitchell J. Fain explores the American Dream in The Lehman Trilogy 2023-09-05
- Chicago actor Mitchell J. Fain is one of three performers headlining TimeLine Theatre Company's upcoming production of The Lehman Trilogy. Fain brings over 30 years of performing experience in the Chicago area to the table, including ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Military drama, Janelle Monae, Conan Gray, Dylan Mulvaney, Whoopi 2023-08-31
- The LGBTQ+ military drama Eismayer (from Dark Star Pictures and Golden Girls Film) will be out in theaters on Oct. 6, and on DVD and Digital on Oct. 10, per a press release. The plot is ...

Gay News

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus leader speaks on group's diversity, 'Sporty Forty' 2023-08-29
- The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC) is marking its 40th-anniversary season this year, and will start this milestone on Sept. 15-16 with "Sporty Forty," an event that is layered in meanings involving stereotypes and the group's ...

Gay News

Britney Coleman keeps Company 2023-08-27
- Company is coming to Chi-town on tour with a fresh take on the classic musical that has already garnered five Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. The original material in 1970 was nominated for 14 Tony ...

Gay News

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest announces 41st edition program 2023-08-21
--From a press release - Chicago, Illinois (August 18, 2023) — Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival today announced its full slate of programming for the 41st edition of the second-longest running LGBTQ+ film ...

Gay News

THEATER Goodman to run 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' in 2024 2023-08-17
- Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Susan Booth announced that Chicago will be first to experience the new musical Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—based on John Berendt's iconic non-fiction book—next summer. With a book by ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.