Hadestown Tony Award winner André De Shields was honored with the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award October 21 during the SAGE Awards and Gala. The evening raised $1.5 million in support of LGBTQ+ elders, and featured a performance by Tony winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy) and a speech by longtime queer activist Jay Toole. SAGE is a non-profit organization dedicated to older LGBTQ+ individuals.
De Shields, who won the Best Featured Actor in a Musical Tony Award for Hadestown in June, celebrates his fifth decade as a professional theatre artist this year. In addition to the Tony, he garnered the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for his performance as Hermes in the Tony Award-winning musical. He made his acting debut in the 1969 Chicago production of Hair. He created the role of The Wiz in the 1975 hit musical The Wiz, which was followed by starring roles in Ain’t Misbehavin’, Stardust, Play On!, The Full Monty, Prymate, and Impressionism.
The honor is De Shields’ first of two Lifetime Achievement recognitions this year. The York Theatre Company will honor the veteran actor with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre during its November 11 gala celebration.
Also honored during the SAGE gala was Emmy Award-winning actor Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace), who received the SAGE Pioneer Award, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Executive Vice President Stacey Friedman, was this year’s recipient of the Jack Watters Corporate Advocate Award.