Happy birthday to Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Hadestown star André De Shields, who turns 75 today.
André kicked off the New Year playing the hard-bitten restaurant critic Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, presented by the Tony Award-winning theatrical production company Seaview’s (Slave Play, Sea Wall/A Life), with Jeremy O. Harris, Michael Breslin, and Patrick Foley serving as Executive Producers. The performance was a benefit for The Actors Fund Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund and has raised $2 million dollars to date.
André also lent his name to a fundraising email campaign for The Actors Fund in December which garnered 86 donations totaling nearly $85,000.
André is currently featured on Crossroads Theatre Company virtual stage, presenting excerpts of his musical Haarlem Nocturne interspersed with his reflections about creating the work, co-writing, directing and starring in the production. The encore presentation and conversation with Crossroads Co-Founder Ricardo Khan streams on the Crossroads website through January 17th. Click here to watch.
De Shields and Haarlem Nocturne have a long history with Crossroads. The musical, performed at Crossroads in 1994, pays homage to the nightclubs of Harlem’s golden age. “Mr. De Shields is family and we are excited to have him back at Crossroads to spend some time with us reminiscing and revisiting the creativity and artistry that brought Haarlem Nocturne to life,” said Khan. “We’ll also talk about the roles he played in bringing success to some of Broadway’s biggest shows including The Wiz, The Full Monty, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Hadestown, the show that brought him his first Tony in 2019,” he added.
For more information about Crossroads and the 2020-2021 season, please visit www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org
André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, and an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In 2019, he received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019.
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! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination).
The Wiz – “Y’all Got It”
Ain’t Misbehavin’ – “Viper’s Drag”
Play On! – “Rocks in My Bed”
The Full Monty – “Let It Go”
In a career spanning fifty two 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. His film and TV projects include Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” on Netflix, Chubby in “Katy Keene” on the CW, and as Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch’s new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com
Below are highlights of André’s interviews, performances and speeches during 2020.
Jan. 10: The Actors Fund Special Performance of 2020 was an unforgettable afternoon at the Tony Award-winning best musical Hadestown. Tony Award winner André De Shields rocked the house after the performance with a ‘curtain sermon’ about The Actors Fund that will be long remembered.
Jan. 26: André De Shields as Principal Soloist of HADESTOWN Wins 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album with Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, Patrick Page, Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anais Mitchell, Todd Sickafoose (Original Broadway Cast)
Jan. 27: WJZ-‘Hadestown,’ Featuring Baltimore’s André De Shields, Wins Grammy For Best Musical Theater Album
March 9, 10, 11 – Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in New York, André performed his theatrical concert OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS for the Broadway Cabaret Series at Old School Square’s Crest Theatre and The Broadway Concert Series Presented by Vi at Aventura at Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. Below are highlights of the show. Click here to read more about the show.
Apr. 8: ALL Arts TV- André De Shields performs in “A Hill on Which to Drown,” a stunning new play written by Kevin R. Free and directed by Zhailon Levingston, about an African American man who, on his death bed, leaves his legacy by staking claim to his own history as a gay man.
Apr. 10: Baltimore Native and Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award Winning Actor André De Shields collaborated with the Office of the Mayor to deliver an important message on how we all can stay healthy and safe during the #COVID19
Apr. 14: André De Shields performs in “A Hill on Which to Drown” | En Garde Arts presents Uncommon Voices
May 3 – THE FULL MONTY’s André De Shields, John Ellison Conlee, Jason Danieley, Romain Fruge, Marcus Neville, Patrick Wilson and David Yazbek Reunite for STARS IN THE HOUSE Click here to read more.
May 6: Badger Commencement 2020 Shout Out – André De Shields, ’70, offers a heartwarming message to the UW-Madison graduates of 2020
May 9 – André Received an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music at Berklee. Click here to read more and below for his speech.
May 11: Theatermania interview
May 12 – The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues – “COVID & Incarceration” collaborated with several arts and advocacy organizations – The Broadway Advocacy Coalition; The Confined Arts; RAPP; Zealous, The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School and American Friends Service Committee – to feature real stories from those currently and previously incarcerated, their families, and the advocates serving them during this global pandemic. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAI3w66jG2A/ André performed a monologue from A Father’s Sorrow, written by Shaka Senghor. This Special Edition of Viral Monologues is made possible by the support of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids. Click here to read more.
May 14: Katy Keene – Try (feat. Ashleigh Murray & Andre DeShields)
May 18: André De Shields, Lynn Nottage, Peter Jay Fernandez, Aja Naomi King, Jelani Alladin, Rebecca Naomi Jones & More Participate in THE 24 HOUR PLAYS: VIRAL MONOLOGUES; COVID & INCARCERATION; Airs Tonight on IGTV @24hourplays
André De Shields in “A FATHER’S SORROW” by SHAKA SENGHOR Hear more from Elder Qualls and how you can support his call to action at https://www.NowHearUs.org
May 20 – NYU Gallatin’91 Alum André De Shields presented a NYU Class of 2020 All-University Commencement Message.
May 26: Playbill: Eva Noblezada, Reeve Carney, and more Hadestown Cast Reunite to Perform ‘Road to Hell (Reprise)’
May 28- The Jimmy Kimmel Show
May 29 – Yin & Yang, aka André De Shields and Garth Kravits, put their own spin on the Sam Cooke R & B classic, “Bring It On Home To Me,” accompanied by Andrew Gutauskas on saxophone.
Yin & Yang, aka André De Shields and Garth Kravits, put their own spin on the Sam Cooke R & B classic, “Bring It On Home To Me,” accompanied by Andrew Gutauskas on saxophone. When asked what inspired the pair to collaborate virtually on this song, De Shields shared, “my ambition for collaborating with Garth on what will ultimately be a series of duets is to restore joy and love to a world that has lost its way.” Kravits said, “André and I very quickly agreed that the essence of this cover and the others that will follow, would be fun, pure and simple. Just to enjoy singing with one another so that the viewing and listening audience might share in what we’re laying down.” Click here to read more the pair.
June 1 – NPR released the Tiny Desk Concert featuring Hadestown cast members, musicians and creator Anaïs Mitchell. The concert was filmed on March 2.
The set list includes “Way Down Hadestown”, “Come Home With Me/Wedding Song”, “When The Chips Are Down”, “Flowers”, and “Why We Build The Wall.”
Cast members and musicians featured are: André De Shields: Hermes; Kimberly Marable: Persephone; Jewelle Blackman: Fate, accordion; Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer: Fate, violin; Kay Trinidad: Fate, percussion; Reeve Carney: Orpheus; Eva Noblezada: Eurydice; Patrick Page: Hades; Anaïs Mitchell: composer, vocals, guitar; Liam Robinson: piano, accordion; Brian Drye: trombone, glockenspiel; Megan Gould: violin; Ilusha Tsinadze: guitar; Ben Perowsky: drums; Malcolm Parson: cello; and Chris Tordini: bass
June 4 – A Virtual Town Hall: The Impact of Covid-19 and Systemic Inequity in Communities of Color, A Holistic Plan for Healing Our Communities via Zoom.
Presented by The Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the office of the Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the 42 members of the Coalition of Theatres of Color (CTC) a 501(c)3 not for profit consortium. The meeting addressed the proposed FY21 city funding for arts institutions. Given the codependent nature of arts, community and culture in New York, survival of CTC institutions is indissoluble from the survival of New York. The impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture community has been devastating. Each of our members – large and small – are struggling to survive the next few months and sadly many may not; drastically and irrevocably shifting the landscape of our field for many years to come. Today our institutions and missions are more vital than ever in playing a key role in the recovery of our great city as many of our organizations are more than just theaters. Speakers included Corey Johnson, Speaker of the NYC Council; I. Daneek Miller, Council Member, BLAC Co-Chair; Laurie Cumbo, Council Member, BLAC Vice Chair; Inez E. Dickens, New York State Assemblymember; André De Shields, Actor, Choreographer; Danny Glover, Actor, Activist; Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Actor, Playwright, Director; David Martine (Chiricuhau Apache/Shinnecock); Sade Lythcott, CTC Chair, National Black Theatre; Diane Fraher, American Indian Artists Inc. (AMERINDA); Madaha Kinsey-Lamb, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center; Carl Clay, Black Spectrum Theatre; Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Rep; and Libertad O. Guerra, The Clemente.
Jun. 7: CBS Sunday Morning -On Broadway: Keeping the lights on. COVID-19 has shuttered stages on the Great White Way, but there are some traditions in Broadway theaters that can’t be totally turned off. Correspondent Mo Rocca talks with “Hadestown” star André De Shields, multiple Tony-winner Bernadette Peters, Broadway producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper, and Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley, the couple behind the “Stars In the House” web series, about how theater artists are coping with the shutdown by turning to a whole new stage.
Jun. 17: André De Shields sings ‘dating in armageddon’
Jun. 17: NYTW – STAGING QUEERNESS with André De Shields, Leigh Fondakowski, Ryan J. Haddad & L Morgan Lee
Jun. 19: #ToBeBlack with André De Shields | The Public Theater
Jul. 7: Playbill-MLB Star Steven Brault Sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” With The Cast Of Hadestown
Jul. 9: Major League Baseball Players and cast of ‘Hadestown’ Cover ‘Wait for Me’
Aug. 6: André De Shields Sings None Of Us Are Free
Aug 6: HADESTOWN’s André De Shields, Reeve Carney, Eva Noblezada, Kimberly Marable sing ROAD TO HELL
Aug. 10: André De Shields sings ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ for #ballotsoverbroadway
Oct. 15: Broadway on Demand: Class is now in session with Tony Award® Winner André De Shields. André is sharing some catalytic elements that you’ll want to put in your toolkit whenever you need to inhabit a character.
Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on “Ain’t Misbehavin'”
Oct.23: PopMatters – André De Shields on “The Wiz”
Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on the Motown Revue
Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on Donna Summer
Oct. 23: PopMatters – André De Shields on “Hadestown”
Read more in André De Shields’ interview with Christian John Wikane at PopMatters.
Nov. 2: Bev’s Girl Films is presenting Yin & Yang, aka Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Hadestown star André De Shields (The Wiz, The Full Monty, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!) and Garth Kravits (The Drowsy Chaperone, Gettin’ The Band Back Together), putting their own spin on the Sam Cooke civil rights anthem, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” accompanied by Steven Cuevas on piano.
Nov. 2: Sing Out For Freedom 2020: An Election Eve Concert in Support of the #ACLU & #NYCLU André De Shields, accompanied by Gaelynn Lea on violin. “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of the Nation” The final words of Congressman John Lewis as published by The New York Times.
Nov. 17: Broadway Advocacy Coalition Presents BROADWAY VS Celebrating Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award Winning HADESTOWN Star André De Shields and Tony Award Winner Lillias White; Raising $34,183 for the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program
André De Shields & Lillias White Inspire with Duet of ‘If You Believe’ – Behind-the-scenes: BROADWAYVS: André De Shields & Lillias White Sing ‘If You Believe’
Philip J. Smith, Chairman Emeritus of The Shubert Organization, received the Father George Moore Artistic Impact Award at the Virtual Encore Ovation: A Celebration of Aging Through Art, presented by Encore Community Services on 12/3/20. Last year’s Father George Moore Artistic Impact Award recipient André De Shields sang ‘What a Wonderful World’ in tribute to Phil.
Dec. 4: WJZ Holiday Memories with Tony Award Winner André De Shields
Dec. 29: Jelani Alladin, Chuck Cooper, André De Shields, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry and Billy Porter sang “Make Them Hear You” from the Tony Award-winning score of Ragtime by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and the chorus of the Tony Award-winning Broadway Inspirational Voices, led by founder Michael McElroy and featuring Norm Lewis, sang “Grateful,” by John Bucchino, at The Actors Fund virtual 2020 Annual Gala.
Dec. 31: The Artist Dojo Interview
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. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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