André De Shields
|André De Shields|
André De Shields at home in New York on February 11, 2009
January 12, 1946 |
|Occupation||actor, singer, director, dancer, novelist, choreographer, college professor|
De Shields graduated from the Baltimore City College high school in 1964. He then attended Wilmington College where he starred in a well-received production of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. After transferring colleges, De Shields received his BA degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. After Wisconsin, he earned a Master of Arts from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor.
De Shields began his professional career in the Chicago production of HAIR which led to a role in The Me Nobody Knows and membership in Chicago's Organic Theater Company, where he created the role of Xander, the Unconquerable in Warp!. He made his Broadway debut as Xander in Stuart Gordon's Warp! (1973), and next appeared in Paul Jabara's Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) (1973), which closed during previews. André De Shields made his mark in the title role of The Wiz, the 1975 Broadway musical by Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown, directed by Geoffrey Holder.
After providing choreography for two Bette Midler musical shows, De Shields returned to Broadway to perform in the musical revue, Ain't Misbehavin', in 1978. The original production ran for more than 1600 shows, and André De Shields earned a 1978 Drama Desk nomination for his performance.
Three years later, he returned to Broadway to perform in Stardust: The Mitchell Parrish Musical, a musical revue featuring the lyricist's work with Hoagy Carmichael, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Leroy Anderson. In 1984, De Shields wrote, choreographed, directed, and starred in André De Shields’ Haarlem Nocturne at The Latin Quarter, a Broadway musical revue that featured standards from the American songbook, pop hits from the early 1960s and songs by De Shields himself. He appeared in a revival of Ain't Misbehavin' in 1988, and next appeared on Broadway in 1997 as the Jester in Play On!, a musical based on the songs of Duke Ellington. De Shields earned nominations for both a Tony® and a Drama Desk Award for his performance.
In 2000, De Shields originated the role of Noah "Horse" T. Simmons in the McNally / Yazbek musical adaptation of the film, The Full Monty. As with Play On!, De Shields garnered Tony® and Drama Desk nominations for his portrayal.
In 2004, De Shields appeared in the Broadway production of Prymate by Mark Medoff at the Longacre Theatre.
In 2008, De Shields received a Drama Desk Award nomination for his performance in an off-Broadway production of Langston Hughes' popular Black Nativity.
De Shields' regional theatre credits include Play On!, The Full Monty, Waiting For Godot, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Death of a Salesman, Dusyanta: A Tale of Kalidasa, The Gospel According to James, and Camino Real.
In 2013, De Shields portrayed Akela and King Louie in the world premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s "The Jungle Book", a co-production of The Goodman Theatre and The Huntington Theatre Company. De Shields received his 3rd Jeff Award, (Outstanding Achievement in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical) for his role as King Louie and garnered an Elliot Norton Nomination for Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor and IRNE nomination for Best Supporting Actor – Musical.
De Shields portrayed Barrett Rude Sr. in The Fortress of Solitude, the musical based on Jonathan Lethem's, The Fortress of Solitude (novel), since its inception in 2012 at Vassar College. The Fortress of Solitude premiered at the Dallas Theater Center in Spring 2014. The Off-Broadway production of The Fortress of Solitude, a co-production with The Public Theater, played through November 2014.
De Shields, Lillias White, Stefanie Powers and Georgia Engel star in the new musical Gotta Dance, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. The musical began performances on December 13, 2015 at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, and runs through January 17, 2016.
De Shields has appeared on television on Another World, Cosby, Sex and the City, Great Performances, Lipstick Jungle, Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Achievement for his performance in the 1982 NBC broadcast of Ain't Misbehavin'. De Shields played Tweedledum in a 1983 televised production of Alice in Wonderland that also included Eve Arden, Richard Burton, Colleen Dewhurst, James Coco, Kaye Ballard, and Nathan Lane.
Awards and nominations
- 2014 AUDELCO Special Achievement Award
- 2013 Fox Foundation Fellowship Grant for Distinguished Achievement of $25,000 to support his work at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago 
- 2013 Jeff Equity Award for Outstanding Achievement in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical (The Jungle Book, winner)
- 2013 IRNE Award for Best Supporting Actor - Musical (The Jungle Book, nominee)
- 2013 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor (The Jungle Book, nominee)
- 2009 National Black Theatre Festival Living Legend Award
- 2009 AUDELCO for Outstanding Performance in a Musical/Male (Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe, winner)
- 2007 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts University of Wisconsin–Madison
- 2007 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance
- 2004 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Prymate, nominee)
- 2004 AUDELCO for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play (Dream on Monkey Mountain, winner)
- 2001 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (The Full Monty, nominee)
- 2001 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (The Full Monty, nominee)
- 2001 Outer Critics Circle Award (The Full Monty, winner)
- 1997 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Play On!, nominee)
- 1997 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Play On!, nominee)
- 1992 AUDELCO Recognition Award/Excellence in Black Theatre (Haarlem Nocturne, winner–La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club
- 1991 AUDELCO Recognition Award/Excellence in Black Theatre (Saint Tous), winner –La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club
- 1984 The 12th Annual AUDELCO Recognition Award/Outstanding Direction of a Musical (Blackberries,winner–Amas Repertory Theatre
- 1984 The 12th Annual AUDELCO Recognition Award/Outstanding Choreography of a Musical (Blackberries, winner–Amas Repertory Theatre
- 1978 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Ain't Misbehavin', nominee)
- "Giants in the Earth: A Tribute to Geoffrey Holder". Americantheatre.org. October 17, 2014.
- Wilson, John S. (February 20, 1978). "'Here'Tis'-A Musical Bow to Fats Waller; The Cast". The New York Times. pp. C13. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- Wilson, John S. (January 31, 1984). "Cabaret: De Shields's 'Harlem Nocturne'". New York Times.
- Armstrong, Linda (August 12, 1997). "Black Fest '97: Andre De Shields Back After Play On!". Playbill.com.
- Ehren, Christine (May 29, 2001). "PLAYBILL ON-LINE'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with Andre de Shields". Playbill.com.
- Murray, Mathew (May 5, 2004). "Broadway Reviews: Prymate". Talkin’ Broadway.
- Kachka, Boris (March 22, 2009). "The Impressionist: André De Shields". New York Magazine.
- "Hopes are high and sights quietly Broadway-set for 'The Fortress of Solitude,' premiering in Dallas". Dallas Morning News. March 9, 2014.
- Cox, Gordon. "Stefanie Powers, Georgia Engel Join Cast of Broadway-Bound ‘Gotta Dance’" Variety, June 29, 2015
- Gans, Andrew (December 14, 2015). "Gotta Dance, Helmed by Jerry Mitchell, Extends Chicago Run; Broadway Debut Set for Fall". Playbill.
- Newdesk. "Andre De Shields to Receive Audelco Special Achievement Award at 42nd Annual Gala, 11/17". Broadwayworld.com, November 13, 2014
- "Andre De Shields Awarded Fox Foundation Grant for Distinguished Achievement; Heads to Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre in 2013". Broadwayworld.com. October 3, 2012.