Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald performs with the Jacksonville Symphony
(Jacksonville, Fla. March 13, 2015) Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald joins the Jacksonville Symphony for an evening of classic American song. Audra McDonald will sing her favorites from Hollywood to Broadway, by such legendary songwriters as Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Stephen Sondheim and many more. The concert takes place on Saturday, March 21 at 8 p.m. in Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, and is sponsored by the Omni Jacksonville Hotel.
Last year, Audra McDonald won a record-breaking sixth Tony Award for “simply becoming” the legendary Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Her latest win marks the first time a performer has won Tonys in all four acting categories. Audra previously won as Best Featured Actress in a Play (A Raisin in the Sun and Master Class), Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Porgy and Bess) and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Ragtime and Carousel). She also earned stellar reviews as the majestic Mother Abbbess in the live NBC production of The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood.
Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both singer and actress. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling, she is equally at home on Broadway and opera stages as in roles for film and television. A two-time Grammy® Award-winner, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. Audra McDonald’s most recent solo recording is “Go Back Home,” released in May 2013 by Nonesuch Records. Songs from the album were featured in a sold-out concert at Avery Fisher Hall which was subsequently televised on “Live From Lincoln Center,” of which Ms. McDonald also serves as series host on PBS.
On the concert stage, Audra McDonald has sung with virtually every major American orchestra – including the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony.
AN EVENING WITH AUDRA McDONALD
With the Jacksonville Symphony
Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 8 pm
Sponsored by Omni Jacksonville Hotel
Andy Einhorn, conductor
With Brian Hertz, piano; Dave Phillips, bass; and Gene Lewin, drums
Ticket Prices: $59-$89. Call 904.354.5547 or log on to JaxSymphony.org for information.
at a glance
Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. With a record six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a long list of other accolades to her name, she is among today’s most highly regarded performers. Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling, the Juilliard graduate is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a high-profile career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. An ardent proponent of marriage equality, McDonald sits on the advisory board of the advocacy organization Broadway Impact and has been featured in campaigns for Freedom to Marry, NOH8, and PFLAG NYC. Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: wife to Will Swenson, and mother of Zoe Madeline.
- Born on July 3, 1970 in Berlin, Germany; raised in Fresco, CA, the older of two daughters
- Received her classical vocal training at Juilliard School, graduating in 1993
- Her daughter, Zoe Madeline, born Feb 14, 2001, was named after two of McDonald’s good friends: her Master Class co-star Zoe Caldwell and actress Madeline Kahn
- Married actor Will Swenson on October 6, 2012 at their home in Croton-on-Hudson, NY
- Broadway debut in 1992 as replacement in The Secret Garden while still in school at Juilliard
- 1994: 1st Tony Award (Best Performance by Featured Actress in Musical): Carousel at Lincoln Center Theater (Hytner)
- 2 more Tony Awards (Featured Actress) for roles in Broadway premieres of Terrence McNally’s Master Class (1996) and Ragtime (1998), becoming first winner under 30 of 3 Tonys
- 1996: Film career began, in Seven Servants
- 1998: Carnegie Hall debut with SF Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in concert broadcast live on PBS
- 1998: Releases Way Back to Paradise, her debut Nonesuch solo album. Has released four additional solo albums for the label: How Glory Goes (2000), Happy Songs (2002), Build a Bridge (2006), and Go Back Home (2013).
- 1999: First TV: CBS’s Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years
- 2001: first Emmy nomination, as Susie Monahan in HBO film of Wit (Mike Nichols, Emma Thompson)
- 2002: second American soloist in more than 100 years to perform at “Last Night of the Proms”
- 2004: fourth Tony for A Raisin in the Sun, with Sean “Diddy” Combs
- Premiered The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for McDonald
- 2006: opera debut at Houston Grand Opera in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine & LaChiusa’s Send “who are you? I love you”
- Feb 2007: LA Opera debut starring with Patti LuPone in Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
- 2009: two Grammy Awards (Best Opera Recording & Best Classical Album) for Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
- 2007 to 2011: played Dr. Naomi Bennett in ABC’s Private Practice
- 2008: reprised A Raisin in the Sun with Sean “Diddy” Combs in TV movie, earning second Emmy Award nomination
- 2009: Public Theater “Shakespeare in the Park” debut in Twelfth Night (Anne Hathaway, Raúl Esparza)
- 2009 movie musical mockumentary She Got Problems, written, co-starring, and directed by her sister, Alison McDonald
- 2012: record-tying fifth Tony, her first in Leading Actress category, in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
- 2012: named official host of Emmy Award-winning PBS series Live From Lincoln Center
- 2013: third Emmy nomination for her role as host of Live From Lincoln Center
- 2013: played Mother Abbess in NBC’s live telecast of The Sound of Music opposite Carrie Underwood; watched by an estimated 18.5 million people across America.
- 2014: 6th Tony Award—and 1st for Leading Actress in a Play—for portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill: setting record for most Tony wins by an actor, and first person to receive awards in all 4 acting categories
- In concert, has premiered music by John Adams and has sung with nearly every major U.S. orchestra, incl. Boston, San Francisco, Chicago & National Symphonies, LA and NY Philharmonics, and Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras
- On PBS, has headlined telecasts including an American Songbook, Sondheim’s Passion, a Rodgers and Hammerstein tribute concert (Something Wonderful), and 4 galas with NY Philharmonic: concerts celebrating New Year’s Eve, Sondheim’s 80th birthday, Carnegie Hall’s 120th anniversary, and life of Marvin Hamlisch. Featured in PBS special A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House, singing at request of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
- Dec 2: starts 32-city tour at LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Other stops include returns to Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall, plus Spanish debut at Madrid’s Teatro Real
- Continues as official host of PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center for 2014-15 season
What the critics are saying:
- “She is a one-of-a-kind musical super-talent … As a singer she is an irreplaceable resource.” — New York Times
- “It’s entirely possible that Audra McDonald is the greatest singer alive.” — New York
- “Unquestionably the most acclaimed American singer of the past decade.” —The Times (UK)
- “It is no exaggeration to say that I regard her as the greatest singer to be born in my lifetime.” — The Stage
- “One of the premier talents in American theater.” — Philadelphia Inquirer
- “There’s just about nothing McDonald can’t do.” — San Francisco Chronicle
- “One of the true theatrical super-novas of her generation.” – Toronto Star
- “When I sometimes regret that I was born too late to have seen Laurette Taylor in “The Glass Menagerie,” Kim Stanley in “Bus Stop” and Ethel Merman in “Gypsy,” I console myself by remembering all the times I’ve seen Audra McDonald, a historic talent who…is just entering her prime.” – Los Angeles Times
- “One of the most consummate performers there is, effortlessly intimate, casually masterly, seemingly more comfortable on stage than most people are anywhere.” — Boston Globe
- “An effusive, rich-toned soprano with the sort of range that covers Montana.” — NPR
- “If the government were really serious about solving a problem like global warming, it might consider reaching out to Audra McDonald. Because simply put, the woman can do anything.” — Washington Post
- “[McDonald’s] voice is one of the glories of the American theater.” — Stephen Sondheim in New York Times
- “McDonald has one of the warmest, most glorious singing voices on the planet.” — USA Today
- Prominent advocate for marriage equality. Her Twitter handle is @AudraEqualityMc. Sits on advisory board for marriage equality advocacy organization Broadway Impact; in 2012 received PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality Award
- June 2011: sang at Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Leadership Dinner, hosted by Neal Patrick Harris. Guests included President Barack Obama, Cynthia Nixon, & Cheyenne Jackson.
- Days before same-sex marriage legalized in NY, joined Mario Batali and pro-marriage-equality marchers and lobbied NY state senators in Albany. 2011: sang at wedding reception of NY City Hall employee John Feinblatt and Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Jonathan Mintz, one of first gay marriages in NY, officiated by Mayor Bloomberg.
- A dog lover, she has two canine companions: Butler, and Georgia, adopted from Eleventh Hour Rescue, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that saves dogs from death row
- Sang “Amazing Grace” at funeral of Lena Horne in 2010; in 2014 sang “Smile” at memorial service for Joan Rivers
- 3 appearances on Kennedy Center Honors; profiled by 60 Minutes, Today, and CBS Sunday; frequent guest appearances on Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Colbert Report; guest on Megan Mullally Show, Rosie O’Donnell Show, Tavis Smiley, and Wendy Williams Show; has guest co-hosted on The View on many occasions
- 2005: Louis Vuitton created the “Audra” bag, named after McDonald; part of special limited-edition collection of handbags designed by Takashi Murakami
- Speaks conversational Italian, plays the piano, and loves anything with chocolate and peanut butter in it
Recent media appearances
- In July, Audra returned to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to sing Yahoo! Questions
- In June, Audra won her record-breaking sixth Tony Award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Watch her acceptance speech here.
- In May, Audra and husband Will Swenson spoke with the New York Times about what they love about their home in Westchester, NY.
- In December, Audra played the Mother Abbess in NBC’s The Sound of Music, Live! opposite Carrie Underwood as Maria. Watch her sing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” here.
- In May 2013, PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center broadcast Audra McDonald in Concert: Go Back Home. You can watch the entire concert here.
Award highlights and international media recognition
- A record 6 Tony Awards: Best Performance by Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (2014); Best Performance by Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012); Best Featured Actress in a Play for A Raisin in the Sun (2004); Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Carousel (1994); Best Featured Actress in a Play for Masterclass (1996); Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Ragtime (1998)
- 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards: Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (2014); Outstanding Actress in a Musical for The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (2012); Outstanding Actress in a Musical for 110 in the Shade (2007); Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for A Raisin in the Sun (2004); Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Carousel (1994)
- 5 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Actress in a Play for Lady Day (2014); Outstanding Actress in Musical for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012); Outstanding Actress in a Musical for 110 in the Shade (2007); Outstanding Featured Actress in Play for A Raisin in the Sun (2004); Outstanding Featured Actress in Musical for Carousel (1994)
- 2013: Sarah Siddons Society of Chicago’s Artist of the Year Award
- 2013: recognized by New York Women in Communications at Matrix Awards
- 2013: honored by Drama League at its annual gala
- 2012: Drama League’s annual Distinguished Performance Award for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
- 2009: 2 Grammys (Best Opera Recording & Best Classical Album) for Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Dec 2 Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, CA
Dec 3 Concert at Cohan Center at Cal Poly Arts San Luis Obispo,CA
Dec 5 Concert at Green Music Center Rohnert Park, CA
Dec 6 Concert at Zellerbach Hall Berkeley, CA
Dec 7 Concert at Granada Theatre at University of California Santa Barbara, CA
Dec 15 Concert Hilbert Circle Theatre Indianapolis, IN
Jan 17 Concert at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre Rochester, NY
Jan 24 Concert at Hayes Hall Naples, FL
Jan 31 Concert at Teatro Real Madrid, Spain
Feb 6 Concert at Memorial Hall at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 8 Concert at Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts, Charlotte, NC
Feb 13 Concert at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts UCONN Storrs Mansfield, CT
Feb 21 Concert at Des Moines Civic Center Des Moines, IA
Feb 27 Kohler Foundation Distinguished Guest Series, Kohler Memorial Theatre Kohler, WI
March 1 Concert at Symphony Hall Boston, MA
March 12 Concert at Eastern Kentucky University’s Center for the Arts Richmond, KY
March 15 Concert at Fox Tucson Theatre at The University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
March 21 Concert at Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts-Jacoby Symphony Hall Jacksonville, FL
March 22 Concert at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Sarasota, FL
March 24 Concert at Kravis Center for Performing Arts West Palm Beach, FL
March 27 Concert at Music Center at Strathmore North Bethesda, MD
April 2 Concert at Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
April 11 Concert at Hosmer Hall at SUNY Potsdam Potsdam, NY
April 16 Concert at Schaeffer Auditorium at Kutztown University Kutztown, PA
April 17 Concert at McCarter Theatre Center Princeton, NJ
April 19 Concert at New Jersey Performing Arts Center Newark, NJ
April 23 Concert at Peace Center for the Performing Arts Greenville, SC
April 29 Concert at Carnegie Hall New York, NY
May 1 Concert at Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
May 8 Concert at Bergen Performing Arts Center Englewood, NJ
May 9 Concert at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts Greenvale, NY
May 15 Concert at Virginia Arts Festival Norfolk, VA
Click here to download photos of Audra McDonald by Autumn de Wilde
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