Happy 75th birthday André De Shields

Happy birthday to Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Hadestown star André De Shields, who turns 75 today.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

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 De Shields (center), (Clockwise) Blake Rouse, Raymond J. Lee, Sophia James, Gabbi Bolt. via Ratatouille The Musical

RATATOUILLE: THE TIKTOK MUSICAL Raises $2 Million For the Actors Fund; Most Successful Fundraiser in Actors Fund History 

André also lent his name to a fundraising email campaign for The Actors Fund in December which garnered 86 donations totaling nearly $85,000.

Joe Benincasa and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Ricardo Kahn and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

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

Tony Award Winner André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields as Hermes in HADESTOWN. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Theater Hall of Fame Class of 2019- Michael Price, Natasha Katz, Carolyn Capstick Meehan, André De Shields, Donna McKechnie, Emily Mann, Michael Feingold and Ann Reinking at the New York Friars Club in New York on November 18, 2019. Photo: Lia Chang

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” 

Actor André De Shields (C) w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”. (c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS
Actor André De Shields (C) w. cast in a scene fr. the Broadway musical “The Wiz”. (c.1974) Photo by Martha Swope courtesy of THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – “Viper’s Drag”

Nell Carter, Ken Page, André De Shields, Armelia McQueen and Charlayne Woodard in Ain’t Misbehavin’. Photo by Mignonette Dooley Johnson

Play On! – “Rocks in My Bed”

The Full Monty – “Let It Go”

THE FULL MONTY’S Marcus Neville, Romain Fruge, John Ellison Conlee, André De Shields, and Jason Danieley on the cover of TIME OUT NEW YORK in 2000. Photo: Dick Mitchell

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

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

André De Shields can be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”.

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)

HADESTOWN Star André De Shields Shares His GRAMMY Award and Special Edition Bulova Watch 

André De Shields’ GRAMMY Award and Special Edition Bulova Watch. Photo by Lia Chang

Jan. 27: WJZ-‘Hadestown,’ Featuring Baltimore’s André De Shields, Wins Grammy For Best Musical Theater Album

Jan. 29: womanaroundtown.com: André De Shields:Old Dawg; New Tricks – Marvelous!

Photos and Video: The Cast of HADESTOWN Celebrates Rachel Chavkin and Jordan Roth at NYTW Gala

Jordan Roth, André De Shields, Khaila Wilcoxon, Kimberly Marable, Dana Lyn, Kay Trinidad, Rachel Chavkin, Ben Perowsky, Malcolm Armwood, Afra Hines, Jessie Shelton, Rachel Hauck, Liam Robinson, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Brian Drye. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside the 2020 TCG Gala: Our Stories Honoring David Henry Hwang and NC Black Rep’s National Black Theatre Festival with André De Shields 

André De Shields and David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

Mar. 23: André de Shields, Taylor Mac, Rachel Chavkin, Mia Katigbak, Clint Ramos, Lynn Nottage, Dominique Morisseau and More Launch THE TRICKLE UP to Aid Artists Loss of Income Due to Covid-19 

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.

HADESTOWN at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert on March 2, 2020. Photo: NPR

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.

Video: HADESTOWN Star André De Shields Talks About the Shutdown and The Great White Way Then and Now with Mo Rocca on CBS SUNDAY MORNING 

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

VIDEO: Watch André De Shields, Audra McDonald, Sterling K. Brown, Jelani Alladin, Denée Benton, Joe Morton & More in The Public’s #ToBeBlack In Honor of Juneteenth

Jun. 23: AARP Black Community Presents Virtual Chat with Tony, Emmy and Grammy winning HADESTOWN Star André De Shields 

Jun. 25: Video: 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 

Jul. 3: André De Shields is Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory 

Jul. 7: Playbill-MLB Star Steven Brault Sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” With The Cast Of Hadestown

Jul. 9: “Sweet Home Chicago” COVID-19 Artist Relief Music Video

Jul. 9: Major League Baseball Players and cast of ‘Hadestown’ Cover ‘Wait for Me’

Jul. 23: Classic Stage Company: Classic Conversations with André De Shields

Aug. 8: André De Shields, Melba Moore, James Rado, Meshach Taylor, Treat Williams, Donna Summer and More Featured in VH1: HAIR-Behind the Music #158

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. 19: André De Shields on #Food Network Kitchen’s BREAKFAST WITH BESSER 

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. 

Oct 21: In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation, all-star virtual event to benefit the Biden Victory Fund, presented by Broadway for Biden and directed by Tony Award® nominee Liesl Tommy 

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’

Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Nov. 19: André De Shields, Billy Porter, Edward Enninful, Lee Daniels, and Rashad Robinson Received Native Son Awards. T. Oliver Reid and George Faison introduced André. Here is his speech.

Nov. 30: André De Shields receives 2020 AUDELCO Award for Lifetime Achievement

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. 9: Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winning HADESTOWN Star André De Shields to Give Keynote for Victory Gardens Theater’s VOICES OF TOMORROW Gala

Dec. 15: André De Shields Sings “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” a special arrangement by Jaime Lozano for Home for the Holidays Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids benefit concert 

Dec. 24: Video: ‘Blue Christmas’ Featuring André De Shields and The Fates -Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad From If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album 

Dec. 25: Watch: André De Shields and Steve Olsen Sing ‘Shine’ at Christmas Day Virtual Telethon to Save West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theatre; More Than $322K Raised to Date 

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

footlights: André De Shields and The ‘Ratatouille’ Whirlwind

vulture: How Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical> Came to Be (and Yes, Disney’s Okay With It)

acbsnews.com: How “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” was born during the coronavirus pandemic 

channel3000.com: UW–Madison alumnus to star in ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’

Playbill: Andrew Barth Feldman, Tituss Burgess, André De Shields, More to Star in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical Benefit

abcnews.go.com.: Tituss Burgess, Adam Lambert star in ‘Ratatouille’ musical

Deadline: ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’ All-Star Cast To Include Wayne Brady, Tituss Burgess & Adam Lambert

foxnews.com: ‘Ratatouille’ TikTok musical announces star-studded cast including Tituss Burgess, Adam Lambert

Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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