The York Theatre Company will honor veteran actor André De Shields with the 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre during its November 11 gala celebration at The Edison Ballroom.
De Shields, who celebrates his fifth decade as a professional theatre artist this year, garnered the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for his performance as Hermes in the Tony Award-winning musical Hadestown. 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 York, whose mission is to develop and produce new musicals, presents the annual Oscar Hammerstein Award with the endorsement of the Hammerstein family and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization.
“André De Shields is a true man of the theatre, and it is a glorious coincidence that he began his career in 1969, the same year that The York was founded,” said York Producing Artistic Director James Morgan. “We are ecstatic to honor him for a career as performer that began with Hair and wound its way through Ain't Misbehavin' and into the current Hadestown, with detours into writing, directing, choreographing, and teaching. Nobody is more deserving.”
The November 11 gala will also pay tribute to producer Riki Kane Larimer (Cagney, Enter Laughing: The Musical), who will receive The York Theatre Company Founders’ Award.
Former York Associate Artistic Director Michael Unger will direct the gala concert and awards presentation, which begins at 8 PM.
Gala tickets can be purchased at YorkTheatre.org.