André De Shields

Personal Information
André De Shields—a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1969—is an award-winning actor, director and educator. He has garnered considerable critical acclaim for his show-stopping performances in the original Broadway productions of four legendary musicals: The Full Monty, for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations in addition to the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama League Award; Play On! (Tony nomination); Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Drama Desk nomination) and The Wiz (title role). He created the role of Graham in the world premiere of Mark Medoff’s Prymate at Florida State University, and revisited that role in the short lived and controversial Broadway production at the Longacre Theatre (Drama Desk nomination). He is the recipient of the coveted 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance.

His other accolades include Chicago’s Black Theatre Alliance Award, two Joseph Jefferson Awards, five AUDELCO Awards and Distinguished Alumni Awards from both New York University-Gallatin School of Individualized Study (MA) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BA), which alma mater bestowed upon him the degree of Doctorate of Fine Arts honoris causa on May 14, 2004. His adopted alma mater, the State University of New York-College at Buffalo, followed suit with a second Doctor of Fine Arts on September 23, 2004.

Mr. 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 Theatre Company, where he created the role of Xander, the Unconquerable in Warp. He debuted on Broadway in Warp in 1973 and has since starred in such roles as Henry Drummond in Inherit The Wind; the Stage Manager in Our Town; Vladimir in Waiting For Godot; the title role in Lonnie Carter’s The Gulliver Trilogy at La MaMa E.T.C.; Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman; the title role in Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor; Scott Joplin in The Tin Pan Alley Rag; Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came To Dinner; Jacob Strand in Ibsen’s Ghosts (starring Jane Alexander); Bill in the world premiere of Let Me Sing, to which he contributed additional material. At the Classical Theatre of Harlem he has participated in four successful collaborations with its Artistic Director, Alfred Preisser—as Makak in Derek Walcott's Dream On Monkey Mountain, in the title roles of Caligula and King Lear—resulting in a co-production with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC during its 2006-2007 season to commemorate its seventy-fifth anniversary—and Black Nativity (Lucille Lortel Award nomination/Outstanding Leading Man in a Musical). He received the 2007 Classical Theatre of Harlem Award for Sustained Excellence in the Theatre.

His film credits include Extreme Measures with Hugh Grant and Prison with Viggo Mortensen. His television credits include “Lipstick Jungle,” “Sex And The City,” “Law & Order,” “Cosby,” the NBC movie-of-the-week I Dream Of Jeannie - 15 Years Later as Haji, King of the Genies; two PBS Great Performances: “Alice In Wonderland” (Tweedledum) and “Ellington - The Music Lives On,” “Another World” and “As The World Turns.” He won an Emmy Award for his performance in the NBC Television special presentation of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Mr. De Shields is currently serving his second five-year term as a member of Actors’ Equity Association’s Eastern Regional Board, and as a Principal Councilor on Equity’s National Council.
External Links: Live at the Lortel Podcast

Production Theatre Opened Credit
1 Mankind Playwrights Horizons 01/08/2018 Jason’s Father / Others
2 As You Like It East 13th Street/CSC Theatre 09/28/2017 Touchstone
3 The Fortress of Solitude Joseph Papp Public Theater/ Newman Theater 10/22/2014 Barrett Rude Senior
4 The Witch of Edmonton Theater at St. Clement's Church 02/03/2011 Old Banks
5 The Bacchae Delacorte Theater 08/24/2009 Teiresias
6 Black Nativity The Duke on 42nd Street 11/30/2007 Narrator / Pastor
7 King Lear HSA Theatre 10/04/2006 Lear
8 A Woman of Will Daryl Roth Theatre 10/02/2005 Voice of The Director
9 Caligula HSA Theatre 04/01/2005 N/A
10 Dream on Monkey Mountain HSA Theatre 10/03/2003 N/A
11 Angel Levine Playhouse 91 05/06/1995 Alexander Levine
12 Dancing on Moonlight Joseph Papp Public Theater/ Anspacher Theater 04/04/1995 Sorry Charlie
13 Just So Jack Lawrence Theater/ Audrey Wood 12/03/1985 Eldest Magician
Award Production Function
1 WON 2023 Drama League Award, Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre    
2 WON 2014 AUDELCO Award, Special Achievement Award    
3 NOMINATED 2008 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Lead Actor Black Nativity Actor
4 NOMINATED 2008 AUDELCO Award, Lead Actor Black Nativity Actor
5 NOMINATED 2008 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actor in a Musical Black Nativity Actor
6 NOMINATED 2008 Drama League Award, Distinguished Performance Black Nativity Actor
7 NOMINATED 2007 AUDELCO Award, Lead Actor King Lear Actor