Three-time Tony Award winning Director Jack O’Brien presented Actor André De Shields, who celebrated the 50th year of his acting career in 2019 by scoring his first Tony Award, for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Hermes in Hadestown, with the 2019 Father George Moore Artistic Impact Award at Encore Ovation – A Celebration of Aging Through Art at Sardi’s on November 18. O’Brien directed De Shields in The Full Monty and Impression on Broadway.
André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theater from The York Theatre and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On!, andThe Full Monty. In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. On August 19 of this year, His Honor Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young presented him with the Key to the City of his hometown, Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. www.andredeshields.com
This inaugural event’s honorary chairs included Philip J. Smith, Chairman, and Robert E. Wankel, President, of The Shubert Organization, who were presented with the 2019 Father George Moore Community Impact Award.
The co-chairs of are producer and Encore Board Chair Lori Raimondo, artist Kendall Messick and playwright/producer Paul Lucas.
Stephanie Simon, Arts and Culture Reporter for Spectrum NY1 emceed the evening’s festivities. The evening included cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres and featured artwork and entertainment by talented aging New Yorkers who are members of Encore’s community.
Encore honored several New Yorkers whose illustrious careers in the arts have already spanned decades even as they continue to reach new artistic heights, push boundaries and inspire others. The other recipients of the 2019 Father George Moore Artistic Impact Award included Philip Pearlstein, an American painter widely regarded as one the greatest figurative artists of the last century. His work is displayed in over 70 museums around in the world and at age 95, he still paints in his studio regularly; and Creative Director Sandra DiPasqua, who has also been volunteering her time and talents to the Encore Senior Center for over 10 years, leading its successful and therapeutic Writer’s Group.
Marta Sanders and Leanne Borghesi opened the evening with “I’m Still Here”. Ms. Sanders received the 2018 Bistro Award for Consummate Cabaret Artistry the same year that Mr. De Shields received the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award. Encore Senior Center Members Sandra Rodriguez, Nancy Simpson, Peter Gallinari were among the artists who also performed.
Encore’s goal is to deepen and expand its arts programming to combat social isolation and other risks that cause serious health problems, which can land seniors in the hospital or in long-term care facilities, deterring them from aging successfully in place. Research shows that music, theater, dance, visual arts, creative writing and other participatory arts improve older adults’ quality of life and well-being.
Father George Moore Artistic Impact Awards
Encore was founded in 1977 by Father George Moore, the pastor of St. Malachy’s Church. He, along with Sisters Elizabeth Hasslet and Lillian McNamara, and members of the Broadway community (including The Shubert Organization, Sardi’s and the theatrical unions) turned the old Actor’s Chapel in the basement of St. Malachy’s into the Encore Senior Center, where it still thrives today.
Father Moore was a dynamic and charismatic leader, a tireless champion for the homeless and elderly, as well as an integral part of the Broadway community. He received an honorary Tony-Award posthumously (in 1991), for his visionary work, his dedication to the arts and his commitment to the people of the Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen and Broadway communities.
Encore Community Services
Since 1977, Encore has provided seniors in the midtown Times Square/Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen communities of New York City with a range of caring and quality services to help them live independent and dignified lives. For this reason, Encore has earned the reputation as “Broadway’s Longest Running Act of Loving Care.”
The mission of Encore Community Services is to provide care and service to any elderly person who needs us; to assist those who are vulnerable and frail, poor and homeless, homebound and lonely, frequently-desperate, most-often ignored; to help them with their daily needs so that they might live as independently as possible, with dignity and decency, in a non-institutional manner, in a safe and caring environment. We believe we are all part of the human family and have an obligation to love one another. By nurturing, respecting and enabling, Encore hopes to improve the quality of an older person’s life, using an approach that emanates from the core of Encore’s commitment: We believe that what we do comes from the heart, and the heart is the center of all. www.encorenyc.org
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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