Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Andre De Shields navigates the theater 'Jungle'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2013-06-26

This article shared 3447 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 www.goodmantheatre.org .


This article shared 3447 times since Wed Jun 26, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER 'Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow' available for download 2021-09-21
- It's Pompeii meets Heathers as New American Folk Theatre continues its "season of audio theatre" with a new studio recording of its 2018 hit comedy Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow. The production was written by ...


Gay News

Congo Square Theatre Co. announces new Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff 2021-09-20
- Congo Square Theatre Company, an African American theater company, announced that longtime company member Ericka Ratcliff will serve as its new artistic director, effective immediately. Ratcliff becomes only the fourth ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf presenting three Tracy Letts virtual works Sept. 29-Oct. 24 2021-09-18
- Leading up to ensemble member Tracy Letts' production Bug returning this November to Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, the company is bringing audiences a sampler of the playwright's voice to their homes with a trio of new virtual ...


Gay News

Frank Ferrante to return as 'Groucho' for one night 2021-09-15
- Actor/director Frank Ferrante returns to his internationally heralded stage performance for one night only in "An Evening With Groucho" on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Spiegeltent ZaZou, on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

First Floor Theater announces 2021-22 season 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 13, 2021) — First Floor Theater is excited to announce their ninth live-production season, featuring one world premiere and one Chicago premiere, along with a second round of The Blueprint Commission, it' new ...


Gay News

AstonRep Theatre Company announces 2021-22 season: 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this fall, kicking off with a revival of Yasmina Reza's frenetic dark comedy God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dear Mom, I'm Gay!' on Oct. 1-2 2021-09-11
- Dear Mom, I'm Gay!—a workshop of a new musical by David Dilsizian—is running at The Jarvis Square Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1; and 2 and ...


Gay News

Saint Sebastian Players to perform four shows during 40th season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - The Saint Sebastian Players (SSP) announce the company is resuming live, in-person production with an expanded 40th Anniversary Season. The four-play lineup celebrates genres that have been popular with SSP ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for 2021-22 season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater announces their 2021/2022 Season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: Queen of the Night by travis tate, the ...


Gay News

Broken Nose Theatre presenting Black LGBTQ drama 'Kingdom' Oct. 4-24 2021-09-10
- Broken Nose Theatre is launching its tenth season with an audio adaptation of its hit 2018 play Kingdom, written by resident playwright Michael Allen Harris and directed by Manny Buckley. Kingdom features ensemble members RjW Mays ...


Gay News

DANCE Ensemble Espanol to open Auditorium Theatre season Oct. 16 2021-09-10
- Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will return to the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The company will mark the finale performance of its 45th-anniversary "Zafiro Flamenco ...


Gay News

'Close-Up with Carmen' Sept. 9 at Center on Halsted 2021-09-08
- 'Close-Up with Carmen'—about the intersection of drag and opera—will take place Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. During this event, participants will discuss cross-dressi ...


Gay News

THEATER Neo-Futurists' 'The Infinite Wrench' returns to the stage Sept. 18 2021-09-08
- Chicago's longest-running late-night show, The Neo-Futurists' The Infinite Wrench, kicks off the company's 2021-22 season of programming with a return to weekly in-person performances on Saturday, Sept. 18. The signature ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.