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André De Shields wins Tony Award

UW alum stars in the hit Broadway musical, Hadestown.

MADISON, WI (June 10, 2019) — He’s done it all. Actor, director, and choreographer André De Shields can now add the title Tony Award winner to his list of accomplishments. The University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus received the honor during the 73rd annual Tony Awards held at Radio City Music Hall, broadcast live on CBS Sunday night.

De Shields was born on January 12, 1946, and grew up in Baltimore. He was the ninth of 11 children. De Shields began his theatrical career at UW–Madison, appearing in Stuart Gordon’s infamous 1968 nude production of Peter Pan. The following year, De Shields starred as El Gallo in The Fantasticks, Madison Civic Repertory Theatre’s inaugural production. He made his professional debut that same year in Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre. De Shields earned his bachelor of arts degree in English literature from UW–Madison in 1970.

De Shields moved to New York in 1973. His Broadway credits include The Wiz and The Full Monty, among many others. Film credits include Prison with Viggo Mortensen and Extreme Measures with Hugh Grant. His television résumé includes an Emmy Award–winning performance in Ain’t Misbehavin’. He also appeared on NBC’s Law and Order, Great Performances on PBS, Sex and the City, and the daytime drama As the World Turns.

De Shields was awarded the Tony for his performance as the god Hermes in Hadestown. It was his third nomination. He narrates much of the musical — a retelling of the Greek myth of the lyre player Orpehus’s doomed journey to the underworld in search of his wife, Eurydice. Hadestown received 14 Tony Award nominations, the most of any production this year.

In 2007, De Shields was the spring commencement speaker at UW–Madison.

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Contact: Tod Pritchard,, 608-609-5217, @WisAlumni

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