ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS - CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P.
André De Shields returns to Victory Gardens Theater August 26-28 for a production of his one-man show, Confessions of a P.I.M.P.
On Broadway, De Shields originated the title role in The Wiz and had long runs in Ain’t Misbehavin', Play On! and The Full Monty -- Broadway performances that have earned him two Tony Award nominations and five Drama Desk nominations.
A multiple Chicago Jeff Award recipient, most recently for his show-stopping performance in Jungle Book, De Shields also received an Emmy Award for an NBC broadcast special on Ain’t Misbehavin’. During a break from rehearsals on August 15th, André De Shields talked about his show, an extraordinary 46-year career and what it is that keeps bringing him back to Chicago.
André’s advice to young performers at the beginning of their careers:
“It is not easy … it is hard for everyone. But remember there are two things that are guaranteed, absolutely guaranteed, in this industry … now here comes the punch line … It’s not fame and fortune … it’s rejection and insecurity … but that’s the test because when you get hungry, and you will get hungry, philosophically hungry and carnally hungry, your stomach will growl for nutrition. When you get hungry, if you can make your meal of rejection and when you get lonely, and you will get lonely, because this narrow path you’re walking is yours and no one else’s … if you can make a companion of insecurity then the universe will conspire to help you because you both will have realized that you have chosen the correct path.”
André shares a special moment with (Dreamgirl)Donica Lynn:
“In one of my Cabaret performances in New York I chose to sing ‘And I am Telling You I’m Not Going’ from a male’s perspective, but I didn’t change the pronouns ... and what I learned about that song is that it has very little to do with gender per se … the essence, the heart of that song is ‘I don’t want to be free.’ I shared that with Donica Lynn and with Doug Peck and during their (Dreamgirls)performance they sent a Facebook message to me and it was a photograph of that part of the music with a huge lip imprint of red lipstick from Donica and it meant the world to me ... because apparently she used that doorway as one of the means to get into that song. And when you hear that song with the emphasis on ‘I don’t want to be free’ it really changes what that song is about … it’s not about the man… it’s not about the woman… it’s about the human condition. ‘I don’t want to be alone. I need a companion’ … and that’s that message I was talking about earlier about rejection and insecurity. We need company … we need ensemble … we need community in this industry. Otherwise we can’t rise.”
André on the ‘power of effective storytelling’:
“If the story is told effectively then it will transcend the problem and transform the life of an individual … it will transcend the problem and alter the government … it will transcend the problem and change the world into the place you want it to be and you need it to be.”
Entire podcast HERE
André De Shields Website HERE