André De Shields celebrates 5 decades as a theater artist this year and at the age of 73 he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role as Hermes in Anais Mitchell's HADESTOWN, currently playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

The Baltimore native recently received a Key to the City and a Mayoral Salute from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in the Rotunda at Baltimore City Hall, two months after taking home his first Tony Award.

André shared his 3 cardinal rules for sustainability and longevity in the arts during his acceptance speech: 

1. Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming.

2. Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be.

3. The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.

The show won in 8 categories including Best Musical, Best Director, Best Score, Best Orchestrations, Sound Design, Lighting Design, Set Design. This is his 3rd nomination. He was previously nominated for PLAY ON and THE FULL MONTY.


André received the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and the Actors' Equity Foundation's 2019 Richard Seff Award. Other recent accolades include inaugural Harlem Week Pride 50 Award, a Certificate of Recognition from the New York City Mayor's Office, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award,  the 2019 Joyce Worshow Lifetime Achievement Award from SAGE, the 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre and was recently inducted in the American Theater Hall of Fame.  

Dallas Theater Center, William Shakespeare's "The Tempest." André De Shields is Prospero. Photo by Elizabeth Mikel.

Variety: Three of Terrence McNally’s Collaborators Remember His Life and Legacy

April 01, 2020

André De Shields

“The Full Monty”

When I learned of Terrence’s death, I was not initially consumed with sadness. The emotion that did wash over me was immense gratitude, that I had witnessed his long service as playwright laureate of contemporary American Theatre. It seems perfectly coherent to me that the author of “Corpus Christi” —at the zenith of his calling—would eventually transcend the mundane world of temporal gravity and enter the spiritual world of infinite gravitas. Am I sounding esoteric and erudite? Well, good! You see, I lovingly embrace Terrence McNally’s literary legacy, his gift of restoring to the center of society those who had traditionally been banished to its edges.


I have been the beneficiary of that gift on three separate occasions, inspiring between us a relationship of mutual admiration and respect. In 2007, Terrence asked me to participate in a fund raising event for The Philadelphia Theatre Company, an artistic home where several of his plays experienced their nascent beginnings. After offering a musical number, it fell to me to introduce the guest of honor, Terrence’s colleague, the equally revered Edward Albee. Albee admired my red gabardine tuxedo and remarked that he was a fan of my work. My heart skipped a beat. More recently, I responded to another request from Terrence to perform in Pride Plays, a celebration of Pride Week 2019, produced by The Rattlestick Theatre in the West Village. In his play Some Men—an arc of eighty years illustrating the diverse lives of same-sex loving men—I portrayed the character “Angel Eyes,” a corrosively humorous amalgam of James Baldwin and Bobby Short. Of course, the most profound of our collaborations was “The Full Monty,” which opened on Broadway in October 2000, and resulted in my second Tony Award nomination. Most people would, understandably, refer to that production as musical comedy. And that description would not be incorrect, but it would be incomplete. You see, the book of “The Full Monty” is a play, masterfully intertwined with an eclectic score by David Yazbek, the combination of which exposes six unemployed blue collar working men as the very essence of vulnerable and complicated humanity. I portrayed the character of Noah T. Simmons, whose dilemma was how to square his ability to boogie down with his insecurity about not possessing the physical prowess to match the urban legend suggested by his nickname “Horse.” Terrence took full advantage of this opportunity to not promulgate a stereotype, but rather to create an archetype that still resonates as a character study in identity, gender and ethnic politics.



Finally, it is said that a playwright writes about what he knows best. If there’s any truth to that adage, and any then Terrence McNally excels in the knowledge of how love conquers hate. As evidenced by the longstanding marriage to his husband, Tom Kirdahy, apparently love simply conquers.

New York Times: To Help Performers in Need, Funky Videos at Your Fingertips

March 23, 2020

By Jennifer Schuessler

The performer Taylor Mac and the playwright Suzan-Lori Parks have signed on to a video-sharing subscription service to raise money for New York colleagues in crisis

But now, a group of New York performers is offering a twist on the concept: a subscription-based service offering a steady stream of performance videos, with all the proceeds to benefit New York artists in need.

The Trickle Up, launched on Monday, aims to keep things simple. For $10 a month, subscribers have access to smartphone videos by participating artists. So far, an eclectic mix of more than 50 artists have signed on with a promise to make at least three videos each, including the puppeteer Basil Twist, the comedian Bridget Everett, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks and Annie Baker, the performance artist Penny Arcade, the directors Rachel Chavkin and Lear DeBessonet and the Tony-winning performer André de Shields (“Hadestown”).


The project is spearheaded by the playwright and performer Taylor Mac, who said he got the idea earlier this month when worries over the coronavirus mounted and he was figuring out how to, as he put it, “responsibly” close down his new play “The Fre,” which was in previews at the Flea in downtown Manhattan.

“One day, I overheard a woman in the lobby say she had three jobs yesterday, and no jobs today,” Mac said by telephone from the Berkshires. “I spent the first 35 years of my life living week to week, gig to gig. It’s just impossible for people to even buy groceries, to do basic things, with no stable income for a while, and then no income.”

In exchange for participating, Mac said, each performer will be able to designate an artist in need as a beneficiary. The goal is to get 10,000 subscribers, and depending on how things take off, continue even after the immediate crisis ends.

“We’ve all been canceled before, but none of us have all been canceled at the same time,” Mac said. “There’s some comfort in solidarity.”


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

March 23, 2020

Broadwayworld: Red Bull Theater's Benefit Honoring André De Shields and More Has Been Cancelled

March 13, 2020

Backstage Pass with Lia Chang: Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winner André De Shields Brings OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS to the Broadway Cabaret Series at Old School Square's Crest Theatre

March 10, 2020

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Broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: André De Shields Brings OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS To The Old School Square's Crest Theatre

March 10, 2020

Broadway.com​: Celebrating Black History Month: André De Shields​ Honors Vaudeville's 'Eminent Performer,' John 'Bubbles' Sublett

February 03, 2020

BWW Dance: Honoring André De Shields for Black History Month

February 03, 2020

Broadwayworld Photo Flash: Tony Winner André De Shields Brings OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS to Lincoln Center American Songbook Series

January 31, 2020

BroadwayWorld Review: With OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS André De Shields Shakes Up The Lincoln Center American Songbook With Songs & Stories From The Book Of Jelly

January 31, 2020

Bustle.com: 'John Mulaney & The #SackLunchBunch' Guest Stars Provide A Delightful Snack Of Entertainment

December 24, 2019

André De Shields can teach the Sack Lunch Bunch a thing or two about stage performing since he recently won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the Best Musical of the year, Hadestown. He has also appeared on television and won an Emmy for his performance in Ain't Misbehavin' on NBC. He's also currently nominated for the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy for Hadestown. So if he wins that, De Shields will be just an Oscar away from an EGOT.

André De Shields, David Byrne, Annaleigh Ashford and More Attend "John Mulaney and The Sack Lunch Bunch" NY Premiere; Launches on Netflix on December 24

December 21, 2019

American Theatre: Lifetime Achievements

November 19, 2019

American Theatre: André De Shields, Theatre God

November 19, 2019

THe Broadway veteran, still kicking in ‘Hadestown,’ has blazed a path so that others may follow.

Photos by Chad Griffith

On Wisconsin: The One and Only André De Shields

November 05, 2019

The Tony–winning Broadway star forged his artistic identity at UW–Madison.

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