A Performing Arts Legacy Project site



“Behold the Man”

Photo by Lia Chang

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, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followedsuit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. In 2020, André received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement. 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 his hometown, Baltimore, Maryland, from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning 52 years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the eighth 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 a 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for sustained excellence of performance, and eight AUDELCO Awards for Outstanding Performance, Direction and Choreography. 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” (CW) and as Wyndham on “Almost Family.” 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.

Mr. De Shields is an esteemed alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM), where in 1970 he earned a BA in English. In May of 2004 the UWM bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, followed by a second honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from SUNY-Buffalo State in September of that same year. Mr. De Shields completed his graduate work at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where in 1991 he received his MA in African American Studies. His numerous accolades also include the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, a 2012 Fox Foundation Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement, Florida Atlantic University’s 2014 Making Waves Award, the Theatre School at DePaul University 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Riant Theatre’s 2016 Pioneer of the Arts Award, three Chicago Joseph Jefferson Awards and nine AUDELCO Awards. Mr. De Shields is the ninth of eleven children born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland. UBUNTU!