Last night, Tony, Grammy and Emmy winning Hadestown star André De Shields became the first artist to perform live from the Flushing Town Hall theatre stage in almost a year. Mr. De Shields featured excerpts from his solo show, “André De Shields is Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory,” which explores the life and achievements of the great emancipator Frederick Douglass.
In celebration of Black History Month, Flushing Town Hall is presenting a Black History Trilogy, a three-part virtual programming series featuring outstanding Broadway performers showcasing the music and speeches of influential African American artists, scholars, and leaders. The Trilogy kicked off with Alton Fitzgerald White in “John Lewis: A Pioneer for Justice”, and concludes tonight with Lillias White in “Divine Sass: A Tribute to the Music, Life, and Legacy of Sarah Vaughan”.
Frederick Douglass—who began his life as a slave, and through heroic effort, became one of America’s most important and historically influential icons—delivered a keynote address at a commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1852 at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. In his speech entitled “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” Douglass asked, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” In 1865, abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke at Flushing Town Hall on the role of African Americans in antebellum America.
The performance was available to view through March 15. Check out photos from backstage and the performance.
The production team includes Clyde Bullard (Curator and Producer-in-Residence at Flushing Town Hall), Steven Mecca (Director Of Production), Mary Ellen Stebbins Slutskiy (Lighting Design), Mark Holst (Camera Operator), and John Gordon (Live Switching), and the anat gerstein PR firm.
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, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and the 2020 Red Bull Theater Matador Award for Excellence in Classical Theater. 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). In a career spanning fifty one 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, Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can be heard on the podcasts Live From Mount Olympus as Hermes and One Speckled Hen. 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
For more information: www.flushingtownhall.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. 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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