Hillside High School to honor nationally renowned actors and local artists during ‘Celebrities in the Classroom’ program

Actor Lawrence Evans will appear at Hillside High School this week as part of the school's "Celebrities in the Classroom" program.
Actor Lawrence Evans will appear at Hillside High School this week as part of the school's "Celebrities in the Classroom" program.

Hillside High School will honor legendary Broadway actor and choreographer André De Shields and New York-based actor Lawrence Evans, along with Durham’s legendary dancers and choreographers Chuck Davis and Nancy Pinckney at its production of “The Glory of Gospel” by Mabel Robinson this weekend.

De Shields and Evans were invited to visit Hillside by Drama Director Wendell Tabb as part of his “Celebrities in the Classroom” program.

The program is committed to inspiring a high level of artistry by connecting young people with artists who have paved the way and are eager to share their knowledge of the business with high school students in the arts.

Hillside High School Principal William Logan said Tabb’s “Celebrities In the Classroom” program has connected artists with our students and has “encouraged them to pursue their dreams of performing at the collegiate and professional levels.”

De Shields is best known for his show stopping performances in six legendary Broadway productions: “Impressionism” (co-starring with Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen), the world premiere of Mark Medoff’s “Prymate” (Drama Desk nomination), “The Full Monty,” for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire award nominations in addition to both the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards, “Play On!” (Tony nomination), “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (Drama Desk nomination) and “The Wiz” (title role).

Meanwhile, Evans is well known in the industry.

He’s appeared in “All My Children,” “Another World,” “Ryan’s Hope,” “As the World Turns,” “One Life To Live,” “The Good Wife,” and “Law & Order.” His film credits include “State Property II,” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Evans is the celebrity coordinator for the National Black Theatre Festival.

Evans will work with Hillside drama students on Thursday, March 30, in preparation for their opening of “The Glory of Gospel.”

He will receive Hillside’s “Outstanding Artist Award.”

De Shields will work with the students on Saturday and Sunday.

He will also be honored with the annual “Trailblazer In The Arts Award” on Saturday during the 3:15pm showing of the play.

Hillside will also present its “Trailblazer Award” to the legendary Chuck Davis and Nancy Pinckney for their longstanding work and service to the Durham community and beyond.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645

Want to go?

What: The “Glory of Gospel” celebrating Drama Director’s Wendell Tabb, 30 years of service to Durham Public Schools and Hillside High School

Where: Hillside High School, 3727 Fayetteville St., Durham

When: The entire weekend beginning Friday, March 31 at 7:15 p.m., Saturday, April 1, at 3:15 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. and Sunday, April 2, at 3:15 p.m.

For tickets and more information contact Hillside High School at (919) 560-3925 ext. 25240 or order tickets online at