by Dale Ricardo Shields
“Lillias White is a singer who makes the most challenging vocal feats look almost easy. Endowed with endless stamina and exuberance, she marches jubilantly across stylistic borders like Napoleon’s army sweeping through Europe.”
Lillias White (born July 21, 1951) is an American singer and actress of stage, television, and film who is particularly admired for her performances in Broadway musicals. In 1989 she won an Obie Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway musical Romance in Hard Times. In 1997 she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for portraying Sonja in Cy Coleman’s The Life. She was nominated for a Tony Award again in 2010 for her work as Funmilayo in Fela Kuti’s Fela!.
White is also known for voicing Calliope on the Disney animated series Hercules, portraying Evette in the film Pieces of April, and for her work as Fat Annie (Cadillac’s mother) in the Netflix series The Get Down. She has also starred as Bloody Mary in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific on PBS’ Great Performances with Reba McEntire and in the PBS documentary In Performance at the White House. She is also an active cabaret singer and has appeared in concert with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and at Carnegie Hall.