Andre De Shields
Andre De Shields at the 2018 Ain't Misbehavin' Reunion Concert Credit: Lia Chang

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An Evening With André De Shields at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

At age 75, Broadway song and dance man André De Shields is making a long overdue debut with his hometown orchestra. The Baltimore Symphony has given the actor a full orchestra and free rein over the repertoire for several cabaret performances spanning Dec. 3 through 5. The setlist includes “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “Let the Good Times Roll,” and the holiday classic “What a Wonderful World” in addition to orchestrated music by jazz great Eubie Blake and a few originals by De Shields. From his nearly 50-year Broadway oeuvre, De Shields will bring songs from The Wiz (1975) and Hadestown (2019). Nine other shows fell in between those hits, plus countless film and TV roles, but it took playing the mythological narrator Hermes in Hadestown for De Shields to finally win a Tony. His acceptance speech included a fond shout out to Baltimore, and now nearly two years later, he returns for a concert with the choir from his high school providing back-up vocals. Baltimore is “the toe of the North” and “the head of the South,” De Shields wrote in an essay for the program. “I wasn’t supposed to make it out alive. That’s why I’ve come back. To make good on my vow that someday I would achieve such stature that Baltimore would be proud to claim me as its native son.” (In past seasons, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has performed at both the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore; Strathmore performances are currently on hold due to a contract dispute and stagehand negotiations. A spokesperson for the BSO said the orchestra hopes to return to the D.C. suburbs soon.) An Evening with André De Shields runs Dec. 3 to 5 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. $25–$80.