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André De Shields (born January 12, 1946 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American actor, singer, dancer, acclaimed novelist, choreographer, and college professor. De Shields graduated from the Baltimore City College high school and received his BA degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Master of Arts from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. De Shields' early Broadway career was less than successful. In 1973, Warp! closed after eight performances and Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) never made it to opening night following accusations by fellow cast members that De Shields' ego marred production. He had better success choreographing Bette Midler's concert at the end of the year, though it was panned by the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. De Shields had a singing role in the 1974 musical Das Rheingold, which featured songs by Jim Steinman. In 1975, De Shields was cast in the title role of The Wiz. Additional Broadway credits include Ain't Misbehavin', the Duke Ellington revue Play On!, The Full Monty, and Prymate.