André De Shields

(b. 1946)

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André De Shields (b. 1946) is an actor, director, choreographer, and educator.

His body of work includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, feature films, television, distinguished visiting professorships, and motivational speaking.  His most famous works on Broadway include, Warp!, Play On!, Ain’t Misbehavin’, the original production of The Wiz, and most recently Hadestown. In 1984, De Shields wrote, choreographed, directed, and starred in André De Shields’ Haarlem Nocturne, a Broadway musical revue featuring standards from the American songbook, pop hits from the early 1960s, and De Shields' own songs.

Cover of a Playbill for Ain't Misbehavin'

Playbill for Ain't Misbehavin', 1978.

2011.45.2ab

Gift of Kayla Deigh Owens, Playbill used by permission. All rights reserved, Playbill Inc.

De Shields received several accolades during his career as a performer including an Emmy Award for his work in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and a Tony Award for his work in Hadestown. As an educator, De Shields has served as an adjunct and distinguished visiting professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study teaching Shakespeare: Gender and Diversity and designing the Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop.

De Shields has always been open about his homosexuality. He often faced racism and discrimination because of his sexual orientation, but it never stopped him from performing.

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Top image: Photograph of André De Shields performing in Ain’t Misbehavin’ from a Playbill for Ain’t Misbehavin’, 1978.  Gift of Kayla Deigh Owens, Playbill used by permission. All rights reserved, Playbill Inc. 2011.45.2ab