Chapman Roberts debuted in the original Broadway cast of Hair. His subsequent stage appearances included feature roles, on and off Broadway, in Salvation, Hello Dolly (Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway), Jesus Christ Superstar (Ben Vereen), and as El Gallo in The Fantasticks. He has recorded with Gregory Hines, Horace Silver, Weather Report, and B.B. King (Grammy). His critically acclaimed vocal arrangements can be heard on eight original Broadway- and West End– cast albums of shows that garnered 25 Tony nominations.
Roberts’ vocal arrangements and musical direction have been pivotal in a string of Broadway and West End successes, including, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, the original productions of Eubie, Bubbling Brown Sugar (two Oliviers, Grammy), Your Arm’s too Short to Box with God (Tony), Blues in the Nite, Five Guys Named Moe (two Oliviers), and Playwrights Horizons’ Avenue X. He was last presented on Broadway and London’s West End in the smash hit Smokey Joe’s Café (Grammy), and off Broadway in Three Mo’ Tenors. His film credits include Year of the Comet with Louis Jourdan and Solomon and Sheba with Halle Berry.
Roberts has served as a special events musical director and supervisor for President Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan’s Kennedy Center Honors, Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, the Inaugural Gala of Governor Ann Richards of Texas, India’s Jazz Yatra Festival, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Plaza, Kool Jazz Festival, and St. Peter’s Jazz Church in New York City. His other musical associations include the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Henry Mancini, Al Green, Patti LaBelle, Bette Midler’s Harlettes, Eubie Blake, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis, Willy Nelson, Foreigner, Manhattans, Leslie Uggams, Ruth Brown, Freda Payne, Eartha Kitt, Della Reese, Lena Horne, Savion Glover, Paul Simon, Public Theatre, Metropolitan Opera Guild, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art, Morgan State Choir, Harlem Gospel Singers, American Idol, and President Barack Obama.
The Gospel According to Broadway, a Chapman Roberts concept chronicling 300 years of African American Sacred Music, was honored in 2007 with a recording by the BBC Concert Orchestra, Michael Terry Singers USA, and London Community Gospel Choirs, and is being prepared for a world tour.
Growing up in the oldest Black chartered Municipality in the US, Eatonville, Fla., Norm always dreamed BIG. Known as a very versatile performer, Norm has been seen in Films, on Television, Broadway, Opera and Concert Halls around the country and the world. He Started off by singing in the Church Choir, High School, and College Choirs along with honing his talents as an actor in the professional theaters around his hometown. He was spotted by a producer while singing at a bar in Orlando, Fla., and was asked to perform in a show on Premier Cruise Lines which eventually lead him to New York.
Norm has enjoyed both working and living in New York and Los Angeles for over two decades now and has many future endeavors coming up. Currently he is performing the title role of Porgy in The Gershwin's PORGY AND BESS with Audra McDonald at the Richard Rogers Theater. He just returned from a very successful year's run in London playing the role of Javert in the West End's LES MISERABLES and was honored to perform the same role for The 25th Anniversary Concert at the O 2 Arena which is now on DVD. He is very proud to announce the release of His debut solo CD NORM LEWIS, THIS IS THE LIFE!
Other Broadway Credits include, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM w/Vanessa Williams and Barbara Cook, THE LITTLE MERMAID (King Triton), LES MISERABLES (Javert) Drama League Nomination, CHICAGO (Billy Flynn), AMOUR (Painter), Michael John LaChuisa's THE WILD PARTY (Eddie), SIDE SHOW (Jake), MISS SAIGON (John), The Who's TOMMY (The Specialist).
Other New York Stage Credits include, Shakespeare in the Park's TWO GENTELMEN OF VERONA (Valentine) Drama League Nomination, Lincoln Center's DESSA ROSE (Nathan) AUDELCO Award for Lead actor in a Musical, Drama Desk and Drama League Nominations, Manhattan Theater Club's CAPTAIN'S COURAGEOUS (Doc), Lincoln Center's A NEW BRAIN (Roger). The Actors Fund concerts of DREAMGIRLS (Curtis), CHESS (Molokov) and HAIR (The Flesh Failures). Concerts of CHILDREN OF EDEN (Father), BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY (Tad), City Center Encores! GOLDEN BOY (Eddie Satin).
Regionally Norm has been seen in DREAMGIRLS w/Jennifer Holliday, RAGTIME, THE FANTASTICS, BABY, COMPANY, and SWEENEY TODD Helen Hayes Award Nomination.
His Film and Television credits include: MYSTERY WOMAN Guest Star, All My Children (Asst DA Keith McClean), Detective Hale on As the World Turns, and Guest Starring roles on Cosby and Strong Medicine, CONFIDENCES, and PREACHING TO THE CHOIR, along with numerous commercials.
Dancer/singer Ted Levy made his Broadway debut in the smash hit Black & Blue. He collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on the choreography of Jelly's Last Jam, for which he received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk nomination and the 1993 Outer Critics Circle Award.
Levy was awarded an Emmy Award for his television debut performance in the PBS special Precious Memories and made his feature film debut in Spike Lee's Malcolm X. His production of Ted Levy and Friends, directed by Gregory Hines, celebrated Levy as one of America's premier tap dance artists.
Influenced by Hines, Levy made his own directorial debut with Savion Glover's Dancing Under the Stars at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Delacorte Theater. He also assisted in the choreography of Broadway's Tony award-winning hit Bring in 'Da Noise! Bring in 'Da Funk!
Levy also appeared in the movie Bojangles with Hines, returned to Broadway as Papa Jack in Susan Stroman and Harry Connick Jr.'s Thou Shalt Not; and appeared as the Mikado in the Ford Theater's production of The Hot Mikado, for which he won a Helen Hayes Award.
Omar Edwards is a gifted dancer/entertainer/musician who has been in love with Tap since he was 12 years old. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Omar draws his dancing from 23 years of experiences and formal training; experiences with masters like Henry Letang, Jimmy Slyde, and Marie Brooks. For the last seven years, Omar has trained under the tutelage of the great musician/songwriter Olu Dara. In 1994, Omar earned national acclaim when he and then Tap partner Daniel B. Wooten Jr. won 13 times including the grand prize on the famed T.V. show "Star Search". From that time on, Omar has embarked on a Tap Dance career that spans the world of music, dance, television, theatre, and film. In 1998, Omar took 4 musicians into the recording studio to record a Tap Dance album entitled “Tap Dancin is Music", making Omar the first of his generation to release an album where the Tap Dancer is the leader of the band as well as the lead instrument.
Omar has taken his foot music, which he now calls "Afro Feet: Music and Beyond", to over 20 countries. Places like Australia, Japan, Germany, Portugal, and many more. His other accomplishments include an international tour of the hit show "Black and Blue" and featured dancer in the Broadway show "Bring In Da Noise, Bring in Da funk". He also starred as the "Sandman" on the legendary T.V. show, "Showtime at the Apollo" for seven years and was featured in the musical movie "Camp". Some of his concert credits would include performing with Alicia Keys live at the Hollywood Bowl anddancing on record with rappers Common and Mos Def on a song called "The Questions". He has performed with Savion Glover live at the White House and was also a featured guest on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show". In the past few years Omar has changed his view of what he is and what he does. "I'm not a Tap dancer although I use the Tap Dance vocabulary to transcend my experience to the audience. My feet sing, recite poetry, they groove, and tell stories. My dance is called "Afro Feet". It’s another way to approach and conceive the dance....”
FRANK OWENS (pianist/music director) was conductor and pianist for the Broadway productions of “Ain’t Misbehavin” and Maurice Hines’ “Uptown It’s Hot!” as well as for the Broadway, Moscow and Kennedy Center productions of “Sophisticated Ladies”. Other theatrical credits include “Black Broadway”, Melvin Van Peebles’ “Don’t Play Us Cheap”, and Hartford TheaterWorks’ “Paul Robeson”. Blue Monday Blues” and his own “Shades of Harlem” (also a double CD set which he produced).
Mr. Owens was musical director for the first David Letterman Show (Mornings, NBC TV-1980). Other television credits include “It’s Show Time At the Apollo” (first seven years), “Eubie Blake: A Century of Music” televised over PBS stations from the Kennedy Center, the Essence Awards, Motown Returns to the Apollo - a 50th Anniversary Special, The Boston Pops (accompanying Gregory Hines), Live With Regis & Kathie Lee and “Christmas in Washington” a seasonal special on TNT.
Frank Owens has been musical director for Johnny Mathis, Chubby Checker, Melba Moore, Johnny Nash, Connie Frances, John Denver, Freda Payne, Ruth Brown, Ann Duquesnay, Lesley Gore, Petula Clark, Oscar Brown Jr., Lena Horne, and currently Keith David. As a studio musician, he has contributed to numerous recordings and commercials including Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited”, the current running commercial “Pristiq” and receiving a gold record for his rhythm concept for Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”.
Mr. Owens was musical director for “Tan Manhattan” (as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival) and for “Hotcha Razz-Ma-Tazz” at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City. He was resident pianist at Mortimer’s, a trendy east-side restaurant and also performed several seasons at the Hotel Carlyle’s Bemelman’s Bar. He is the musical director for the Annual Tap Extravaganza in New York City and at Flushing Town Hall in Queens. He also hosts a weekly open mic at Zeb’s Place produced by Cobi Narita.
Award winning actor Keith David was born in Harlem, New York and raised in East Elmurst, Queens. With over 150 film, television and stage credits to his name, he continues to exemplify the character of Hollywood’s greatest actors with a humble, un-trying ability to remain in demand.
As a child Keith discovered he wanted to act after playing the cowardly lion in his school's production of "The Wizard of Oz". He then later enrolled in Manhattan’s High School of the Performing Arts and continued his studies in voice and theater at the prestigious Juilliard School of Drama. After graduation, Keith was hired as an understudy for the role of Tullus Aufidius in William Shakespeare's "Coriolanus. In 1992 he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his role in the classic Broadway play "Jelly's Last Jam".
Since then, Keith David has had ongoing careers in acting, voiceover and music. In 2008 Keith earned an Emmy Award for his narration of the A Necessary War segment of Ken Burns miniseries and epic documentary The War. Having earlier won an Emmy Award for his narration of another epic Ken Burns documentary, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; Keith was also an Emmy nominee for narrating the filmmaker’s miniseries Jazz.
David's extraordinary range of talent is evidenced by his body of feature films. His dozens of on-screen feature film roles include Oliver Stone’s Academy Award-winning Platoon; Clint Eastwood’s Bird; Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s There’s Something About Mary; Michael Bay’s Armageddon; David Twohy’s Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick; Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream; Doug Liman’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith; Tim Story’s Barbershop; Paul Haggis Academy Award-winning Crash; and the title role in Rockmond Dunbar’s upcoming Pastor Brown.
On television, David’s numerous acting credits include guest arcs on ER and 7th Heaven; appearances on such shows as Law and Order and CSI; and LeVar Burton’s telefilm The Tiger Woods Story, for which he was a Daytime Emmy Award nominee.
Noted for his deep, commanding voice, Keith has added another dimension to his career as a successful voice over artist. Internationally known as the voice behind Goliath from Gargoyles and the title character in the Spawn animated series, he also provided the voice for the character of Vhailor in the video game Planescape: Torment and the voice of The Arbiter for video game Halo 2. Other voiceover credits include the A and E cable series City Confidential and speaking for the U.S. Navy in television commercials; and the upcoming Ron Clements and John Musker animated feature The Princess and the Frog.
As a native New Yorker, Mr. David has extensive stage experience, from Shakespeare on stage in Central Park to Broadway with credits that also include Sarah Pia Anderson’s revival of Hedda Gabler and Lloyd Richards original Broadway staging of the late August Wilson’s Seven Guitars.
Also, an accomplished singer/songwriter with his own band, Keith has tapped into some of today's top producers and chart topping performers to join him on his album debut, scheduled for release in 2009. The album will feature both a traditional jazz format and his personalized brand of a jazz and hip-hop hybrid.
Currently, Keith is the new voice of Smooth Jazz, 94.7 The WAVE, the Original Smooth Jazz radio station based in Los Angeles and streaming worldwide. In addition, he is thrilled to be the voice behind the character of "the cat" in the upcoming Disney film adaptation of Coraline.
Coraline is presented by the team behind The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach and is the first stop-motion feature shot in stereoscopic 3-D. The ensemble cast also includes the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and Jennifer Saunders. Distributed by Disney, Coraline opens nationwide in theaters on February 6th.
Recently appeared as "Ole Mister" in THE COLOR PURPLE on Broadway. In the summer of 2006 he was seen as "The General" and "The Farmer" in MOTHER COURAGE with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. He received nominations for both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his portrayal of "Sportin' Life" in the Houston Grand Opera's Grammy Award winning production of PORGY AND BESS, and in 1990 he made his official Metropolitan Opera debut in the opera under the baton of James Levine. Mr. Marshall has gone on to perform the role at La Bastille in Paris, and the Tearro Alla Scala in Milan.
Some of Mr. Marshall's Broadway credits include the title role of "Hamlet" in Gower Champion's ROCKABY HAMLET, "Berger" and "Hud" in HAIR, "Horse" in the musical THE FULL MONTY, "Valentine" in TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, "Slick" in Bob Fosse's BIG DEAL, "The Ghost of Christmas Past" in COMIN' UPTOWN with Gregory Hines, "Sweets" in PLAY ON!, and as "Tiger Brown" in THREE PENNY OPERA with Sting.
Off-Broadway he has won plaudits in SPELL#7, HAGGADAH CANTATA, and LULLABYE AND GOODNIGHT, all for the New York Shakespeare Festival, including the Festival's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM at Lincoln Center, in which Mr. Marshall played the role of "Puck". He also appeared in several productions at La Mama including BLACK MILK with the Talking Band, "Lysander" in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and the "Narrator" in ALADDIN.
Among his regional theatre credits are "Judas" in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Paper Mill Playhouse, for which he won the New Jersey Drama Critics award for Best Actor in a Musical, "Alonzo Fields" in the one man show LOOKING OVER THE PRESIDENTS SHOULDER,at the Portland Stage, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco, and The Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, "The Guard" in MUSEUM at the Folger Library Theatre in Washington D.C., and "Hoke" in DRIVING MISS DAISY at the Capital Repertory theatre in Albany N.Y. He also appeared as "Adam" with Gwyneth Paltrow in the Williamstown Theatre production of AS YOU LIKE IT. He played "Lucifer" in Arthur Miller's first musical venture UP FROM PARADISE, and "Little Daddy" in Duke Ellington's QUEENIE PIE at the Philadelphia's American Music Festival Theatre and the Kennedy Center. Mr. Marshall also sang the role of the "Preacher" in Leonard Bernstein's MASS, which opened the Kennedy Center, and later played the Metropolitan Opera House.
Mr. Marshall's film credits includes"Cab Calloway"in THE COTTON CLUB,"Simon Zealotes"in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR,"Mickey"in PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK, and as "Adam Clayton Powell Sr."in Showtime's KEEP THE FAITH. He appreared for three seasons as "Jeremiah Joseph" in Showtime's SOUL FOOD, and was featured on the Comedy Channel's STRANGERS WITH CANDY as "Jazzy".
Mr. Marshall's directorial debut was A FAITH JOURNEY, a docu-musical on the life of Martin Luther King at Riverside Theatre in 1990. He was recently the Associate Director and performed the role of "Rum"in the Kennedy Center's presentation of CARMEN JONES with Vanessa Williams and Placido Domingo. He has also been the Associate Director for the New York Harlem Theatre's production of PORGY AND BESS since 1993, and has staged productions that have played most of the major opera houses in Europe, among which are "La Fenice" in Venice, Teatra del Opera in Rome, Teatro Bellini in Catannia, The Ronacher Theater in Vienna, and Teatra des Westins in Berlin. Mr. Marshall directed The Atlanta Opera's production of PORGY AND BESS in the fall of 2005, and the Memphis Opera in 2006. He directed Verdi's MACBETH for the Memphis Opera in January 2008. In 1999 he co-directed and starred in the 2nd musical review of THIS JOINT IS JUMPIN' at New York's Supper Club,and in 2000 conceived and directed it's TRIBUTE TO THE 20TH CENTURY. The two shows ran for a total of 5 yrs at the Supper Club.
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. In observance of Black Heritage Month 2009, he created his very first solo performance—MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY: From Douglass To Deliverance, which has evoked powerful emotional response from audiences in New York at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, and at The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard. Costarring with Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen, he garnered considerable critical acclaim in the roles of Chiambuane and Mr. Linder in the world premiere of Michael Jacobs’ new American play, Impressionism. He made his New York Shakespeare Festival debut as Teiresias, the blind prophet, in the Public Theater’s production of Euripides’ The Bacchae, directed by Joanne Akalaitis, with a score by Philip Glass, at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre. A second debut was marked at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA as Robert in David Mamet’s A Life In The Theatre.
However, 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). He created the role of Graham in the world premiere of Mark Medoff’s Prymate at Florida State University, and revisited that role in the short-lived yet controversial Broadway production at the Longacre Theatre (Drama Desk nomination). At the behest of its Cultural Foundation, Mr. De Shields has twice performed his tribute to Louis Armstrong, Ambassador Satch, in the United Arab Emirates.
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.
New York theatre audiences have witnessed Mr. De Shields’ distinctive talent in other productions as varied as Cato at The Flea, Haarlem Nocturne at Broadway’s now defunct Latin Quarter, Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor at the Melting Pot Theatre, Let Me Sing at The George Street Playhouse and Lonnie Carter’s The Gulliver Trilogy at La MaMa E.T.C.
Regional audiences have witnessed his precedent setting performances as Robert in David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, Henry Drummond in Inherit The Wind, Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman, Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came To Dinner, Scott Joplin in Tin Pan Alley Rag, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, Jacob Strand in Ibsen’s Ghosts (starring Jane Alexander), and the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. In 2008, under the guidance of Artistic Director, Wendy Taucher, he performed as the Moor of Venice in The Othello Project at The Yard, a performing arts colony in Chilmark, MA, on Martha’s Vineyard.
His film and television credits include Extreme Measures with Hugh Grant, Prison with Viggo Mortensen, "Rescue Me," "Life On Mars," "Lipstick Jungle," "Sex And The City," "Law & Order," "Cosby," "As The World Turns," "Another World," the NBC movie-of-the-week, I Dream Of Jeannie-15 Years Later, as Haji, King of the Genies and two PBS Great Performances—as Tweedledum in Alice In Wonderland and Ellington-The Music Lives On. He received an Emmy Award for his performance, as the Viper in the NBC Television Special of Ain’t Misbehavin’.
His other accolades include Chicago’s Black Theatre Alliance Award, two Joseph Jefferson Awards, five AUDELCO Awards and Distinguished Alumni Awards from both New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study (MA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BA), which alma mater bestowed upon him the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa on May 14, 2004. His adopted alma mater, the State University of New York-Buffalo State College, followed suit with a second Doctor of Fine Arts on September 23, 2004. André also has been educated at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, and the Internal College of Copenhagen in Denmark. In April 2001, he was honored with his very own portrait in the gallery of caricatures at Broadway’s world famous Sardi’s Restaurant.
On the concert stage, André has twice collaborated with American composer William Bolcom: as J. J. Fergesen in Casino Paradise and as the Rock Singer in Bolcom’s musical illumination of William Blake’s Songs Of Innocence And Experience with the St. Louis Symphony at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the BBC Symphony at London’s Royal Festival Hall. In 1999, he toured as Narrator with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in both Stravinsky’s L’Histoire Du Soldat and Wynton Marsalis’ companion piece, A Fiddler’s Tale, and with The Peabody Trio in Aaron Jay Kernis’ Le Quattro Stagioni Della Cucina Futurismo (The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine).
In a more popular vein, De Shields created six original theatrical concerts, which—during the decade of the 70’s, when New York City reigned as the world capital of cabaret—won the crown as King of Cabaret for him. They are Have You Ever Been Kissed By Lightning? Starring Mau Mau The Zulu Vampire, Half Man-Half Cadillac, The Insatiable Mechanical Monster (Gypsy’s), Uptown Sunday Night and Maximum Contrast (the Grand Finale), Black By Popular Demand (the Horn of Plenty in Greenwich Village, Greenstreets in SoHo, Joe’s Pub, Queen’s Theatre in the Park and the Capitol Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin), Haarlem Nocturne (the Club at La MaMa) and Midnight (in New York at Reno Sweeney’s and Les Mouches, plus the Back Lot Theatre at Studio One, Los Angeles’ preeminent nightclub, the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco and Maunkberry’s in London).
Mr. De Shields began his professional career in 1969 at the Shubert Theatre in the Chicago production of Hair, The American Tribal-Love Rock Musical, directed by Tom O’Horgan and choreographed by Julie Arenal. After fifteen months of “beads, flowers, freedom, happiness,” he assumed the role of Clorox in The Me Nobody Knows, choreographed by Patricia Birch. His Chicago experience led to membership in Stuart Gordon’s Organic Theatre Company, where, in 1971, De Shields created the cult villain, Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in Warp: The World’s First Science Fiction Epic Adventure Play In Serial Form. Mind you, this feat was achieved fully seventeen years before Star Wars. In 1973, De Shields debuted on Broadway in Warp at the Ambassador Theatre, where New York critics summarily dismissed the show. In quick succession, De Shields was chosen by Peter Link to perform as a lead vocalist in his summer concert at the Delacorte Theatre, Please Don’t Let It Rain, along with Irene Cara—who would later costar with De Shields in the Off-Broadway production of Ain’t Misbehavin’— cast by Dania Krupska as the Pharaoh in the American premiere of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat at the Playhouse in the Park in Philadelphia; cast by Ron Link as the “Negro from Oh, Ocho Rios “ in Paul Jabara’s Rachel Lily Rosenbloom (And Don’t You Ever Forget It). Guess what? It was forgotten. Ultimately, André was invited by Ellen Stewart to make the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club his artistic home in New York.
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. He was the Algur H. Meadows Distinguished Visiting Professor of Theatre in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, where he directed A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, The Threepenny Opera and a workshop production of Saint Tous, an original dramatic musical inspired by the life of Haiti’s revolutionary hero, Toussaint L’Ouverture.
For two years, 1992 and 1993, he served as director of Carnegie Hall’s JAZZED—an educational strategy for restoring the Arts to New York City’s public schools. In 2006, he was the Harold Clurman Visiting Professor at the City University of New York-Hunter College, where he directed Vincent J. Cardinal’s King Dusyanta: A Tale From Kalidasa. In January 2008, he conceived and directed the inaugural observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the South Carolina Governor’s School of Arts and the Humanities in Greenville, SC. And during the spring semester of 2008, he was the Artist-in-Residence at the State University of New York-Buffalo State College, where he directed a fortieth anniversary production of Hair.
His union affiliations are Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and Actors’ Equity Association, where he is currently serving his second five-year term as a member of the Eastern regional Board, and as a Principle Councilor on Equity’s National Council. From 1996 to 2001, he chaired Equity’s Committee for Racial Equality—now the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEOC), and coordinated the annual celebration of Black History Month, jointly produced from 1994 to 2002 by Equity and NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
On Monday, February 9, for Black History Month 2009, the EEOC presented his solo tribute to Frederick Douglass, MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY: From Douglass To Deliverance at the Service Employees International Union in New York City.
A triple Capricorn, Mr. De Shields is the ninth of eleven children born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland.
Longineu Parsons has been hailed by critics internationally as being one of the world’s finest trumpet players. He also performs on recorders, flute, percussion, and is a vocalist. Longineu performs classical and jazz on trumpet and his compositions include orchestral works and chamber music as well as jazz and world music. He is the protégé of the great cornetist, at Adderley. Longineu has performed in some thirty countries in North, South and Central America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He has performed for such dignitaries as the King of Morocco, the President of Gabon, the Royal Family of the Netherlands, the President of Austria, the U.S. Ambassador to France, The Royal Family of Monaco and for U_ESCO. Longineu holds a BS degree in Music from Florida A&M University and Master of Music in classical trumpet from the University of Florida. He has also had supplementary jazz studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and has extensive studies in composition on the master’s and doctoral levels. Longineu has performed and recorded with such greats as Cab Calloway, Nat Adderley, Cecil Taylor, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Herbie Mann, Frank Foster, Mal Waldron, Philly Joe Jones, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, David Murray, Billy Harper, and many others. Longineu has been soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony, Palm Beach Pops, Tallahassee Symphony, Augusta Symphony, Gainesville Symphony and the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestras. He has been a clinician at high schools and universities, most notably, the Conservatoire Nationale de France and the Universidad Autonoma de Bucaramanga (Colombia). He is currently Associate Professor of Music at Florida A&M University.