Broadway Advocacy Coalition Announces BROADWAY VS Celebrating André De Shields and Lillias White

The virtual event will raise funds for the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program and the organization’s programming.

By: Nov. 10, 2020
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Broadway Advocacy Coalition Announces BROADWAY VS Celebrating André De Shields and Lillias White

Inspired by the cultural phenomenon Verzuz, the Broadway Advocacy Coalition has announced BROADWAY VS, the musical event you've been waiting for.

Celebrating the legendary careers of Tony Award winners André De Shields and Lillias White, BAC will honor the legacies of these Broadway icons while raising funds to support the next generation of BIPOC leadership within the theatre industry through the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program, as well as BAC's other initiatives to support and empower artist activists.

Hosted by Amber Iman, the BROADWAY VS will be livestreamed from Shubert Studios at New World Stages on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:00PM ET. To register or donate, please visit

The evening will feature song selections from their extensive careers on Broadway and on film including music from The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Hercules, The Life, Full Monty, and more as well as conversations between the two iconic Broadway stars.

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors' Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors' best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company's 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin' (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival's Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in "John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch" and on The CW as Chubby in "Katy Keene." De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.

Lillias White has appeared on Broadway in starring or featured roles since 1981. These roles include Joice Heth in Barnum, Grizzabella in Cats, Effie in Dreamgirls, Mama Morton in Chicago, Jonesy in How To Succeed in Business... and Asaka in Once On This Island. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Funmilayo Anikulapo Kuti in Fela! and received The Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Award for her featured role in The Life. Other memorable performances include Hennie in Romance in Hard Times at the Public (Obie Award), Crowns at Second Stage (Audelco Award), Texas in Paris at The York Theatre (Lucille Lortel nomination), and Ma Raineys Black Bottom at the Mark Taper Forum (N.A.A.C.P. AWARD). Concert work includes appearances at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, VItellos, The Purple Room, 54 BElow (Bistro Award) and the Green Room 42. On TV Miss White can be seen on "Law & Order," "Law & Order SVU," "Person of Interest," and on Netflix as Fat Annie in The Get Down. Lillias is the voice of The Lead Muse in Disney's animated film Hercules. Lillias White holds Honorary Doctorates from the City University of New York and University of West Virginia-Parkersburg.

The Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program was established to honor, uplift and support the next generation of Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) theatre-makers working behind the scenes. The program will provide financial support, as well as mentorship through online seminars focusing on community building, leadership and social justice from Richard and various leaders from the theatrical industry. More information can be found here:

In the inaugural year, selected recipients will receive a $1,500 scholarship for the Spring 2021 semester. The scholarship program strives to encourage more Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous, and People of Color to pursue degrees in the theatrical management and artistic fields, such as Stage Management, Technical Theatre, Theatre Design, Playwriting, Directing, or Theatre Management. In partnership with the BAC, the program also hopes to build a community of scholars who will connect with each other through leadership seminars as they continue their various educational journeys.