Lillias White



by Dale Ricardo Shields

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James Edward Alexander [ Sneakpeek photography ]      

Tony winner Lillias White, is known for her performances in Fela!, The Life, Romance in Hard Times, Cats, Carrie, Once on This Island, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Chicago.


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.


For Broadway veteran Lillias White, it all began as a child in Brooklyn, N.Y., when relatives encouraged her to dance and sing on her grandmother’s dining room table. The 71-year-old actress, who won a Tony Award for “The Life,” is now starring in the Broadway musical “Hadestown.” She talks with correspondent Mo Rocca about her role models growing up; her relationship with the audience; and setting the standard for singing standards.



Hadestown – Walter Kerr Theatre (NYC)

Lillias White (born July 21, 1951)

American singer and actress on 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! 



Summer Stage 2015 Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem.

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 Carnegie Hall.


Timothy Graphenreed and Lillias White at Carnegie Hall.




Lillias White’s caricature unveiling at Sardi’s

New York City – December 3, 2022

Susan Davison and Andre De Shields


Lilias White singing Come Sunday

The Riverside Church Service September 2001

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 14: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Lillias White attends Amateur Night at the Apollo: Broadway! at The Apollo Theater on March 14, 2012, in New York City. (Photo by Shahar Azran/WireImage)


Billy Stritch and Lilias White

WBGO’s Champions of Jazz 2019 Gala


Carol Maillard, Marva Hicks, KiKi Shepard, George Faison, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Chita Rivera, Eartha Robinson, David Robertson, Maurice Hines Jr, and Lillias White at Symphony Space.

KiKi Shepard, Eartha Robinson, George Faison, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Chita Rivera, David Robertson, Maurice Hines Jr, Alyson Williams, and Lillias White at Symphony Space.

July 2019     

Dinah Was “I Want to Be Loved” Lillias White, Rosie O’Donnell Show 1998