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.