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Audra McDonald

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Audra McDonald
Audra Mcdonald in 2018
Born (1970-07-03) July 3, 1970 (age 51)
EducationJuilliard School (BM)
  • Singer
  • actress
Years active1994–present
  • Peter Donovan
    (m. 2000; div. 2009)
  • (m. 2012)

Audra Ann McDonald[1] (born July 3, 1970)[2] is an American singer and actress. Primarily known for her work on the Broadway stage, she has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actor, and is the only person to win all four acting categories.[note 1] She has performed in musicals, operas, and dramas such as A Moon for the Misbegotten, 110 in the Shade, Carousel, Ragtime, Master Class and Porgy and Bess.

As a classical soprano, she has performed in staged operas with the Houston Grand Opera and the Los Angeles Opera and in concerts with symphony orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. In 2008 her recording of Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with the Los Angeles Opera won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album and the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. She has a close working relationship with composer Michael John LaChiusa who has written several works for her, including the Broadway musical Marie Christine, the opera Send (who are you? i love you), and The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle. With her full lyric soprano voice,[3] she maintains an active concert and recording career throughout the United States performing a wide repertoire from classical to musical theater to jazz and popular songs. In 2016, McDonald was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. In 2017 she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[4]

On television, McDonald portrayed Dr. Naomi Bennett as a main cast member of Shonda Rhimes's ABC television drama Private Practice from 2007 to 2011. She also portrayed the character of Liz Lawrence in Season 4 of The Good Wife, a role that she reprises as a main cast member in the spinoff series The Good Fight, she received a Critics Choice Award nomination for her performance in the 3rd season. In 2013 she performed the role of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music Live! opposite Carrie Underwood as Maria. She has twice been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her portrayals of Susie Monahan in Wit opposite Emma Thompson in 2001 and for her performance of Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun in 2008. In 2016 she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill for HBO in which McDonald portrayed jazz legend Billie Holiday. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program in 2015 for her work hosting the program Live from Lincoln Center.

On film she is best known for her portrayals of Maureen in Ricki and the Flash (2015) opposite Meryl Streep and Madame de Garderobe in the 2017 film version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. She has been nominated five times for the NAACP Image Awards for her work in television and film.

Early life and education

McDonald was born in West Berlin, Germany, the daughter of American parents, Anna Kathryn (Jones), a university administrator, and Stanley James McDonald Jr., a high school principal.[1][5] At the time of her birth, her father was stationed with the United States Army. McDonald was raised in her father's native Fresno, California, the elder of two daughters; her sister, Alison, writes and directs for television and film. McDonald graduated from the Roosevelt School of the Arts program within Theodore Roosevelt High School in Fresno.[6] She got her start in acting with Dan Pessano and Roger Rocka's Good Company Players, beginning in their junior company. In a feature article about her written when she was a child, she said that she knew she wanted to be involved in theater "when I had my first chance to perform with the Good Company Players Junior Company." She also said that the people who have had the most impact on her life are "Good Company director Dan Pessano and my mother."[7] She studied classical voice as an undergraduate under Ellen Faull at the Juilliard School,[8] graduating in 1993.[9]



McDonald in 1998
McDonald in 1998

McDonald was a three-time Tony Award winner by age 28 for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime, placing her alongside Shirley Booth, Gwen Verdon and Zero Mostel by accomplishing this feat within five years. She was nominated for another Tony Award for her performance in Marie Christine before she won her fourth in 2004 for her role in A Raisin in the Sun, placing her in the company of then four-time winning actress Angela Lansbury. She reprised her Raisin role for a 2008 television adaptation, earning her a second Emmy Award nomination. On June 10, 2012, McDonald scored her fifth Tony Award win for her portrayal of Bess in Broadway's The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, thus tying Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris.[10] Her 2014 performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill earned McDonald her sixth Tony award and made her the first person to win all four acting categories.

McDonald appeared as Lizzie in the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2007 revival of 110 in the Shade, directed by Lonny Price at Studio 54, for which she shared the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Musical with Donna Murphy.[11] On April 29, 2007, while she was in previews for the show, her father was killed when an experimental aircraft he was flying crashed north of Sacramento, California.[12]

McDonald is known for defying racial typecasting in her various Tony Award-winning and -nominated roles. Her performances as Carrie Pipperidge in Nicholas Hytner's 1994 revival of Carousel and Lizzie Curry in Lonny Price's 2007 revival of 110 in the Shade made her the first black woman to portray those (traditionally white) roles in a major Broadway production. Of her groundbreaking work in encouraging diversity in musical theatre casting, she said in an interview for The New York Times, "I refuse to be stereotyped. If I think I am right for a role I will go for it in whatever way I can. I refuse to say no to myself. I can't control what a producer will do or say but I can at least put myself out there."[13] In a Talk of the Nation interview on NPR, Asian-American actor Thom Sesma said McDonald's performance in Carousel "transcended any kind of type at all", proving her to be "more actress than African-American."[14]

McDonald is also no stranger to the opera stage. In 2006 she made her opera debut at the Houston Grand Opera performing Francis Poulenc's La Voix humaine and the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's one-woman opera Send (who are you? I love you).[15] She had previously performed in the world premiere of John Adams' I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky which was given in concert, and can be heard on the 1997 recording of the opera. In 2007 she performed the role of Jenny Smith in Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Los Angeles Opera.[16] Her performance was recorded and won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2009. She appeared in a revised version of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, at the American Repertory Theatre (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) from August through September 2011, and recreated the role on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, which opened on January 12, 2012 and closed on September 23, 2012.[17] For this role, McDonald won her fifth Tony Award and her first in a Leading Actress category.[18] This American Repertory Theater production was "re-imagined by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre Murray as a musical for contemporary audiences."[19]

In 2014, she was featured in Lynn Nottage's short play Poof!, alongside Tonya Pinkins. It was produced for radio and podcast by Playing On Air.[20]

She appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in Eugene O'Neill's play A Moon for the Misbegotten in August 2015, co-starring with her husband Will Swenson.[21]

In 2016, McDonald starred on Broadway as the vaudeville performer Lottie Gee in a new musical titled Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed about the making of the 1921 musical Shuffle Along.[22] Shuffle Along closed on July 24, 2016 and McDonald began a maternity hiatus at that time.[23][24]

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

McDonald played Billie Holiday on Broadway in the play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill in a limited engagement that ended on August 10, 2014.[25] After previews that began on March 25, 2014, the play opened at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 13, 2014.[25] Of the play, McDonald said in an interview:

It's about a woman trying to get through a concert performance, which I know something about, and she's doing it at a time when her liver was pickled and she was still doing heroin regularly...I might have been a little judgmental about Billie Holiday early on in my life, but what I've come to admire most about her – and what is fascinating in this show – is that there is never any self-pity. She's almost laughing at how horrible her life has been. I don't think she sees herself as a victim. And she feels an incredible connection to her music – she can't sing a song if she doesn't have some emotional connection to it, which I really understand.[25]

McDonald won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for this role, making her the first person to earn six Tony Award wins for acting (not counting honorary awards) and the first person to win a Tony Award in all four acting categories.[26] In her acceptance speech, "she thanked her parents for encouraging her to pursue her interests as a child."[27] She also thanked the "strong and brave and courageous" African-American women who came before her, saying in part, "I am standing on Lena Horne's shoulders. I am standing on Maya Angelou's shoulders. I am standing on Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee, and most of all, Billie Holiday. You deserved so much more than you were given when you were on this planet. This is for you, Billie."[28] This performance was filmed at Cafe Brasil in New Orleans and broadcast on HBO on March 12, 2016.[29] McDonald received a 2016 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in the broadcast.[30]

McDonald had planned to make her West End debut as Holiday in Lady Day in June through September 2016,[31] but after becoming pregnant she postponed these plans.[32] She performed in Lady Day in June 2017 through September 9, 2017, at the Wyndham's Theatre in the West End.[33]

Recordings and concerts

McDonald performing at the Wright Center in 2011
McDonald performing at the Wright Center in 2011

McDonald has maintained ties to her classical training and repertoire. She frequently performs in concert throughout the U.S.[34] and has performed with musical organizations such as the New York Philharmonic and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Carnegie Hall commissioned the song cycle The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle for McDonald, and she performed it at Carnegie's Zankel Hall on June 2, 2004.[35] She sang two solo one-act operas at the Houston Grand Opera in March 2006: Francis Poulenc's La voix humaine and the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Send (who are you? I love you).[36] On February 10, 2007, McDonald starred with Patti LuPone in the Los Angeles Opera production of Kurt Weill's opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny directed by John Doyle.[37] The recording of this production of Mahagonny won two Grammy Awards, for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album in February 2009.[38]

In September 2008, American composer Michael John LaChiusa was quoted in Opera News Online, as working on an adaptation of Bizet's Carmen with McDonald in mind.[39]

McDonald has recorded five solo albums for Nonesuch Records. Her first, the 1998 Way Back to Paradise, featured songs written by a new generation of musical theatre composers who had achieved varying degrees of prominence in the 1990s, particularly LaChiusa, Adam Guettel and Jason Robert Brown.

Her next album, How Glory Goes (2000), combined both old and new works, and included composers Harold Arlen, Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Kern.[8] Her third album, Happy Songs (2002), was big band music from the 1920s through the 1940s.[40] Her fourth album, Build a Bridge (2006), features songs from jazz and pop.[41]

In May 2013, Audra McDonald released her first solo album in seven years, Go Back Home, with a title track from the Kander & Ebb musical The Scottsboro Boys. To coincide with the album's release, McDonald performed a concert at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City that aired on the PBS series Live from Lincoln Center titled Audra McDonald In Concert: Go Back Home.[42]

At the 2010 BCS National Championship Game on January 7, McDonald sang America the Beautiful for the sold-out stadium fans to celebrate the final game of the college football season.[43]

In May 2000, Audra McDonald appeared as "The Beggar Woman" in Lonny Price's concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, performed at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, with the New York Philharmonic with George Hearn and Patti LuPone. She reprised the role in some performances of the March 2014 Lincoln Center concert production, again directed by Price, this time opposite Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. She performed three concerts, titled "Audra McDonald Sings Broadway", in the Sydney Opera House in November 2015, which also included "The Facebook Song" by Kate Miller-Heidke.[44]

Television and film

McDonald has also made many television appearances, both musical and dramatic. In 2001, she received her first Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for the HBO film Wit, starring Emma Thompson and directed by Mike Nichols.[45] She also has appeared on Homicide: Life on the Street (1999), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2000), Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (1999), the short-lived Mister Sterling (2003), The Bedford Diaries (2006), and Kidnapped (2006–2007), and in the 1999 television remake of Annie as Daddy Warbucks' secretary & soon-to-be wife, Miss Farrell.[46] She sang with the New York Philharmonic in the annual New Year's Eve gala concert on December 31, 2006, featuring music from the movies; it was televised on Live from Lincoln Center by PBS.[47] In 2013, she appeared in the HBO documentary Six by Sondheim.[48]

McDonald appeared as Naomi Bennett in Private Practice, a spinoff of Grey's Anatomy. She replaced Merrin Dungey, who played the role in the series pilot.[49] McDonald left Private Practice at the end of season four, but returned for the series finale at the end of season six to bring closure to Naomi's storyline.[50][51]

In films, McDonald has appeared in Beauty and the Beast (2017), Ricki and the Flash (2015), Best Thief in the World (2004), It Runs in the Family (2003), Cradle Will Rock (1999), The Object of My Affection (1998), and Seven Servants by Daryush Shokof which was her film acting debut in 1996.[46]

McDonald played Mother Abbess in the 2013 NBC live television production of The Sound of Music Live!.[52][53]

Since 2012, McDonald has served as host for the PBS series Live From Lincoln Center, for which she shared an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program with the show's producers. On August 1, 2017, it was announced that she had been added to the main cast for the second season of The Good Fight, reprising her role as Liz Lawrence from The Good Wife season 4.[54]

Personal life

McDonald married bassist Peter Donovan in September 2000.[8] They have one daughter, Zoe Madeline Donovan, named after McDonald's close friend and Master Class co-star Zoe Caldwell and the late Madeline Kahn. McDonald became close friends with Kahn after they filmed a TV pilot together, and she found out she was carrying a girl the same day she sang at Kahn's memorial.[55] McDonald and Donovan divorced in 2009.[56]

She married Will Swenson on October 6, 2012.[57] On October 19, 2016, they became parents to a girl, Sally James McDonald-Swenson.[58] She also has two stepsons.[59]

McDonald attended Joan Rivers' funeral in New York on September 7, 2014, where she sang "Smile".

McDonald and family live in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.[60]

Activism and charitable work

In October 2020, McDonald joined many other Broadway stars in a virtual voter education and letter-writing party sponsored by VoteRiders to raise awareness about voter ID requirements.[61]

In June 2020, McDonald and a coalition of professionals from across the theatre industry launched Black Theatre United, an organization whose mission is to inspire reform and combat systemic racism within the theatre community and throughout the nation. Emphasizing four goals – awareness, accountability, advocacy, and action – BTU works at the community and national levels to elevate anti-racist causes and support the Black community through various resources and initiatives.[62]

McDonald joined other Broadway stars including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Laura Benanti, and Kristin Chenoweth in 2018 to record Singing You Home, a bilingual children's album designed to benefit organizations that aid families separated at the border.[63]

She joined the Covenant House board of Directors in 2014. Covenant House oversees programs for homeless youth in 27 cities in six countries across the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Audra was the recipient of their 2018 Beacon of Hope Award.[64]


Solo recordings


Featured recordings


Cast recordings

Video recordings

Audio books



Year Film Role
1996 Seven Servants Opera Singer
1998 The Object of My Affection Wedding Singer
1999 Cradle Will Rock Blitzstein – "Joe Worker" Singer
2003 It Runs in the Family Sarah Langley
2004 The Best Thief in the World Ruth
2011 Rampart Sarah
2015 Ricki and the Flash Maureen
2017 Beauty and the Beast Madame de Garderobe
2017 Hello Again Sally (The Actress)
2021 Respect Barbara Siggers Franklin


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Annie Grace Farrell TV movie
Homicide: Life on the Street Teresa Giardello Episode: "Forgive Us Our Trespasses"
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years Bessie in her 20s TV movie
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Audrey Jackson 2 episodes
The Last Debate Barbara Manning TV movie
2001 Wit Susie Monahan
2003 Mister Sterling Jackie Brock 9 episodes
Partners and Crime Unknown TV movie
Tea Time with Roy & Sylvia Sylvia Short
2005 Passion: Live From Lincoln Center Clara TV special
2006 The Bedford Diaries Professor Carla Bonatelle 8 episodes
2006–07 Kidnapped Jackie Hayes 3 episodes
2007–13 Private Practice Dr. Naomi Bennett 77 episodes
2009 Grey's Anatomy Episode: "Before and After"
2007 Great Performances Jenny Smith Episode: Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
2008 A Raisin in the Sun Ruth Younger TV movie
2009 She Got Problems Herself Short
2012–13 Sesame Street Chicken 3 episodes
2013 The Good Wife Liz Lawrence Episode: "Runnin' with the Devil"
The Sound of Music Live! Mother Abbess Live telecast
Audra McDonald: Go Back Home Self Concert special
It Could Be Worse Sharon Episode: "Starring Veronica Bailey"
The Ordained Anthea TV movie
2014 Submissions Only Tracy Mintzner Episode: "Dangerous Anaesthesia"
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Lucy, the Beggar Woman Filmed Live from Lincoln Center stage production
2015 Doc McStuffins Itty Bitty Bess (voice) Episode: "Itty Bitty Bess Takes Flight"
2016 Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Billie Holiday Filmed stage production
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (guest judge) Season 10 Episode 7: "Snatch Game"[77]
2018–19 BoJack Horseman Mother Superior (voice) 2 Episodes
2018–present The Good Fight Liz Lawrence-Reddick Main cast
2020 American Experience Additional voices Episode: "The Vote"
Central Park Ashley (voice) Episode: "A Fish Called Snakehead"
Vampirina Medusa (voice) Episode: "Vee and the Family Stone/Twin Trouble"
2021 The Bite Rachel Boutella 6 episodes
TBA The Gilded Age Dorothy Scott


Year Show[78] Role Notes
1992 The Secret Garden Ayah (replacement) St. James Theatre
1992 – January 3, 1993
1994 Carousel Carrie Pipperidge Vivian Beaumont Theater
February 18, 1994 – January 15, 1995
1995 Master Class Sharon Graham Philadelphia Theatre Company
March 1995
Something Wonderful Performer Gershwin Theatre
July 12, 1995
Master Class Sharon Graham John Golden Theatre
October 26, 1995 – June 29, 1997
1997 Ragtime Sarah Ford Center for the Performing Arts
December 26, 1997 – October 29, 1999
January 10–16, 2000
1999 Marie Christine Marie Christine L'Adrese Vivian Beaumont Theater
October 30, 1999 – January 9, 2000
2000 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Lucy, The Beggar Woman Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center
May 4–6, 2000
2001 Dreamgirls Deena Jones New York Actor's Fund Benefit Concert
2003 Passion Clara Ravinia Festival
August 22–23, 2003
Henry IV Lady Percy Vivian Beaumont Theater
October 28, 2003 – January 18, 2004
2004 A Raisin in the Sun Ruth Younger Royale Theatre
March 30 – July 11, 2004
The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle Performer Carnegie Hall
June 2, 2004
2005 Passion Clara Lincoln Center
March 30 – April 1, 2005
Wonderful Town Eileen Berlin Philharmonic
2006 La voix humaine/Send (who are you? I love you) Singer Houston Grand Opera, March
2007 Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny Jenny Los Angeles Opera
February 2007
110 in the Shade Lizzie Curry Studio 54
April 13 – July 29, 2007
2009 Twelfth Night Olivia Delacorte Theater
June 25 – July 12, 2009
2011 Porgy and Bess Bess American Repertory Theater
August/September 2011
Richard Rodgers Theatre
December 17, 2011 – September 23, 2012
2014 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Lucy, The Beggar Woman Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center
March 5–8, 2014
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Billie Holiday Circle in the Square Theatre
March 25 – October 5, 2014
2015 A Moon for the Misbegotten Josie Williamstown Theatre Festival
August 2015
2016 Shuffle Along Lottie Gee Music Box Theatre
March 14 – July 24, 2016
2017 Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Billie Holiday Wyndham's Theatre
June 27 – September 9, 2017[79][80]
2019 Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Frankie Broadhurst Theatre
May 4 – July 28, 2019[81]


Audra McDonald in Concert (2013–14)

Date City State Venue
March 9, 2013 Chicago Illinois Lund Auditorium
March 16, 2013 Boca Raton Florida Mizner Park Amphitheater
April 6, 2013 Stamford Connecticut Palace Theatre
May 16, 2013 Norfolk Virginia Attucks Theatre
May 24, 2013 New York City New York Stern Auditorium[82]
October 5, 2013 Colden Auditorium
October 10, 2013 Washington, D.C. Library of Congress
October 12, 2013 Chicago Illinois Symphony Center
October 19, 2013 Louisville Kentucky Brown Theatre
October 20, 2013 Austin Texas Michael & Susan Dell Hall
October 22, 2013 Las Vegas Nevada Reynolds Hall
October 25, 2013 San Diego California Balboa Theatre
October 26, 2013 Los Angeles Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
November 15, 2013 St. Louis Missouri Sheldon Concert Hall
November 16, 2013 Kansas City Muriel Kauffman Theatre
December 21, 2013 Mesa Arizona Ikeda Theater
January 5, 2014 West Palm Beach Florida Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall
January 18, 2014 Rohnert Park California Joan and Sanford Weill Hall
February 1, 2014 Washington, D.C. Library of Congress
February 22, 2014 Worcester Massachusetts Hanover Theatre
February 26, 2014 West Palm Beach Florida Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall
February 28, 2014 Visalia California L.J. Williams Theater
March 8, 2014 Atlanta Georgia Atlanta Symphony Hall

23 concerts total; the gap between May and October 2013 is due to McDonald's work with television and her album coming out, causing the three and a half month gap. The tour ended due to McDonald's show, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill opening on Broadway, but she picked up again with a new tour once the show closed.

An Evening with Audra McDonald (2014–15)

Date City Country Venue
December 2, 2014 Los Angeles United States Walt Disney Concert Hall
December 5, 2014 Rohnert Park Joan and Sanford Weill Hall
December 6, 2014 Berkeley Zellerbach Hall
December 12, 2014 New York City Stern Auditorium
January 8, 2015 Ft. Lauderdale Parker Playhouse
January 17, 2015 Rochester Kodak Hall
January 24, 2015 Naples Hayes Hall
February 6, 2015 Chapel Hill UNC Memorial Hall
February 21, 2015 Des Moines Des Moines Civic Center
February 27, 2015 Kohler Kohler Memorial Theatre
March 1, 2015 Boston Boston Symphony Hall
March 12, 2015 Richmond EKU Auditorium
March 15, 2015 Tucson Fox Tucson Theatre
March 21, 2015 Jacksonville Jacoby Symphony Hall
March 22, 2015 Sarasota Van Wezel Hall
March 24, 2015 West Palm Beach Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall
March 27, 2015 Bethesda The Music Center at Strathmore
April 7, 2015 Indiana Indiana University Auditorium
April 15, 2015 Pittsburgh Byham Theater
April 17, 2015 Princeton McCarter Theatre
April 19, 2015 Newark Prudential Hall
April 23, 2015 Greenville Peace Concert Hall
April 29, 2015 New York City Stern Auditorium
May 8, 2015 Englewood Bergen Performing Arts Center
May 9, 2015 Greenvale Tilles Center Concert Hall
May 11, 2015 Pittsburgh Byham Theater
May 15, 2015 Norfolk Virginia Arts Festivall
June 12, 2015 Saratoga Mountain Winery
June 22, 2015 Vienna Wolf Trap
July 19, 2015 Lenox The Shed
September 1, 2015 Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl
September 3, 2015
October 1, 2015 Richmond Carpenter Theater
October 7, 2015 Philadelphia Merriam Theater
October 8, 2015 Storrs Jorgenson Center
October 13, 2015 Greenville Peace Concert Hall
October 31, 2015 Melbourne Australia Hamer Hall

37 concerts; this tour marked her Australian debut. The lack of August shows was due to her run in A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Other concerts

McDonald in the East Room of the White House, 2013
McDonald in the East Room of the White House, 2013

Awards and nominations

In 2012, Audra McDonald received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement presented by Awards Council member General Colin Powell.[83][84]

On September 22, 2016, Audra McDonald was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama for 2015. The Award states, in part: "for lighting up Broadway as one of its brightest stars.... In musicals, concerts, operas, and the recording studio, her rich, soulful voice continues to take her audiences to new heights."[85]


Year Award Category Work Result
1994 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Carousel Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Theatre World Award Honoree
1996 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play Master Class Won
Ovation Award Best Featured Actress in a Play Won
1998 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Ragtime Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2000 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Marie Christine Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
2004 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play A Raisin in the Sun Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Won Audience Award Favorite Featured Actress in a Play Won
2005 KissFM Phenomenal Woman Award[86] Won
2007 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical 110 in the Shade Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won Audience Award Favorite Actress in a Musical Nominated
2008 Grammy Award Best Classical Album Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny Won
Best Opera Recording Won
2012 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Porgy and Bess Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won Audience Awards Favorite Actress in a Musical Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair (with Norm Lewis) Nominated
2013 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated
Sarah Siddons Award Distinguished Achievement in the Theatre Won
2014 Tony Award Best Actress in a Play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won Audience Award Favorite Actress in a Play Won
Favorite Diva Performance Nominated
2016 Audience Award Favorite Diva Performance Shuffle Along, or [...]  Nominated
2018 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Nominated
2020 Tony Award Best Actress in a Play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Pending
Antonyo Award Best Actor in a Play on Broadway Won


Year Award Category Work Result
2001 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Wit Nominated
Online Film and Television Association Award Best Supporting Actress in a TV film Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Variety – Series or Special Audra McDonald in Concert Nominated
2008 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie A Raisin in the Sun Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Supporting Actress in a TV Film Won
NAACP Image Award Best Actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Private Practice Nominated
2009 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2010 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2013 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Special Class Program Carousel (Live from Lincoln Center) Nominated
Black Reel Award Best Supporting Actress in a Movie The Sound of Music Live! Nominated
2015 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Special Class Program Sweeney Todd (Live from Lincoln Center) Won
2016 Primetime Emmy Award Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series Nominated
2020 Critics Choice Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Good Fight Nominated


Year Award Category Work Result
2017 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Beauty and the Beast Nominated

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Best Actress in a Play, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Play, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical. "Tony Awards Facts & Trivia". Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2014.


  1. ^ a b "Audra McDonald Biography (1970–)". Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  2. ^ "Audra McDonald Biography: Theater Actress, Singer, Television Actress (1970–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Audra McDonald Back on Broadway". March 8, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "Audra McDonald, Matthew Broderick, Marin Mazzie among 2017 Theater Hall of Fame inductees". September 11, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  5. ^ Stated on Finding Your Roots, April 27, 2021
  6. ^ "Audra – Living Her Dream". The Fresno Bee. January 15, 1989. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
  7. ^ "Audra McDonald's a tough act to follow in Evita". The Fresno Bee. December 5, 2007. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Green, Blake. "Never Short of Breath", (originally in the San Francisco Chronicle), July 16, 2000
  9. ^ "Alumni News: November 2011". Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Audra McDonald (BM '93, voice)
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Chenoweth, Dench, Linney, McDonald, Rashad Nominated for Emmy Awards", Playbill, July 17, 2008, retrieved February 5, 2017
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Utopia and Spring Awakening Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards", Playbill, May 21, 2007, retrieved February 5, 2017
  12. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Stanley McDonald Jr., Father of Tony-Winner Audra McDonald, Dies in Air Crash", Playbill, April 30, 2007, retrieved February 5, 2017
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  15. ^ Ben Nattison (March 4, 2006). "Audra McDonald Premieres LaChiusa's Send at Houston Grand Opera". Playbill.
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  19. ^ Gans, Andrew and Hetrick, Adam. "Norm Lewis-Audra McDonald Porgy and Bess Will Play Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre" Archived July 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, June 29, 2011
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  27. ^ Purcell, Carey. "Gent's Guide, All The Way, Hedwig And the Angry Inch, Raisin in the Sun Win Top Prizes at 68th Annual Tony Awards" Archived June 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, June 8, 2014
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  29. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Debuts on HBO Tonight", Playbill, March 12, 2016
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  35. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Audra McDonald Premieres The Seven Deadly Sins June 2 at Zankel Hall", Playbill, June 2, 2004
  36. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Audra McDonald to Debut New LaChiusa Piece at Houston Grand Opera", Playbill, July 26, 2005
  37. ^ Simonson, Robert and Gans, Andrew. "Doyle to Direct LuPone and McDonald in Mahagonny" Archived September 17, 2012, at, Playbill, January 16, 2006
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  40. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Audra McDonald Sings Composers of Today and Future at Joe's Pub", Playbill, May 22, 2002
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  53. ^ 'Sound of Music Live!' with Carrie Underwood: NBC announces more cast, releases poster Entertainment Weekly, Retrieved September 16, 2013
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  86. ^ 98.7 KISS-FM (April 7, 2005). "Emmis communications/98.7 KISS-FM celebrated Women's History Month by introducing its first annual salute to Phenomenal Women". Press Release. Emmis Communications.

External links

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