In a career spanning more than half a century, André De Shields has acquired a number of sobriquets, among them, "Broadway Diety," "Professional Charmer," and "Papa Dré." De Shields was the triple crown winner of the 2019 awards season, garnering Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his universally praised role as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year.
De Shields has also distinguished himself as a director, philanthropist and educator. His defining theatrical performances include roles in the original Broadway productions of The Full Monty (Tony Award Nomination), Play On! (Tony Award nomination), Ain't Misbehavin' (Emmy Award), and the titular role in The Wiz. De Shields is experiencing growing pains as he prepares for his next adventure as Actor/Activist, eradicating the inauthentic while elevating the inexplicable. Unbuntu!
De Shields embraced cabaret early on. Beginning in the ’70s, he created a string of original shows that performed at such landmark New York clubs as Gypsy’s, the Grand Finale, Reno Sweeney, Les Mouches, the Club at La MaMa, the Horn of Plenty, Greene Street, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London. In 1984, he co-wrote, choreographed, co-directed, and starred in the Broadway musical revue André De Shields’ Haarlem Nocturne. More recent cabaret appearances have included Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Cabaret, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series, Joe’s Pub, Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York, Old School Square’s Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Fl. and Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. He is a recipient of the 2018 Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award.
In 2022, De Shields received the 2021 Broadwayworld Cabaret Award for Best Show, Celebrity. He will receive the 2022 NYU Distinguished Alumni Award on April 1.
In 2021, New York Senator Brad Hoylman presented De Shields with a Senate Proclamation on April 8th, 2021 proclaiming the day “André De Shields Appreciation Day”. The surprise proclamation was arranged by producer Tom D’Angora to honor André's extensive charity work and activism, along with the public appearances. André starred in the title role of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s King Lear in June, 2021. On opening night, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones issued a Mayoral Proclamation naming June 4, 2021 as “King Lear/André De Shields Day”. De Shields received the 2021 John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, the 2021 Sarah Siddons Society of Chicago's Actor of the Year Award and the 2021 Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club Human Rights Award.
In 2020, De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement and the 2020 Red Bull Theater Matador Award for Excellence in Classical Theater.
2019 honors include The Actors’ Equity Foundation Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year, the Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, and The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, among others. He was also 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.
Other accolades include the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award, 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 roles include Keys, who first appeared in a 2014 episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” He has also appeared on “Law and Order” twice, as Dr. Elvin Simmonds (Custody,1996) and Mr. Miller (Cost of Capital,2006); Dale Rustin on NBC’s “New Amsterdam”; 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 Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He stars in Foxing’s new music video, Draw Down the Moon, and can be heard on the podcasts Live From Mount Olympus as Hermes and One Speckled Hen. He can be seen in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick, tick…BOOM! and as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch and Carl Andress’ comedy film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com