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Audra McDonald (1970)

Audra Ann McDonald

Type :  


Audra Ann McDonald is an American actress and singer. She currently stars in the ABC television drama Private Practice as Dr. Naomi Bennett. She has appeared on the stage in both musicals and dramas, such as Ragtime and A Raisin in the Sun. She maintains an active concert and recording career, performing song cycles and operas as well as performing in concert throughout the US. She has won the Tony Award four times.


 early life
Born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Fresno, California, the elder of two daughters, she began to study acting at a young age to counteract her diagnosis as "hyperactive". McDonald graduated from the Roosevelt School of the Arts program within Theodore Roosevelt High School in Fresno. She got her start in acting with Dan Pessano and Good Company Players, beginning in their Junior Company. "I knew I wanted to be involved in theater when I had my first chance to perform with the Good Company Players Junior Company." "The people who have had the most impact on my life: Good Company director Dan Pessano and my mother." She studied classical voice as an undergraduate under Ellen Faull at the Juilliard School, graduating in 1993.


McDonald became a three-time Tony Award winner by the age of 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 other four-time winning actresses Gwen Verdon and Mary Martin. She reprised her Raisin role for a 2008 television adaptation, earning her a second Emmy Award nomination.

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. 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.

McDonald appeared in a revised version of Porgy and Bess, as "Bess", at the Loeb Drama Center in August through September 2011 and is expected to recreate the role on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre starting in previews on December 12, 2011. This American Repertory Theater production is being "re-imagined by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre Murray as a musical for contemporary audiences."


Throughout her career, McDonald has maintained ties to her classical training and repertoire. She frequently performs in concert throughout the US and has performed with musical institutions 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. 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 . 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. The recording of the Los Angeles Opera production of Kurt Weill's opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, featuring McDonald and Patti Lupone, won two Grammy Awards, for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album in February 2009.

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

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 TV Movie for the HBO film Wit starring Emma Thompson and directed by Mike Nichols. She also has appeared on Homicide: Life on the Street , Law & Order: Special Victims Unit , Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years , the short-lived Mister Sterling , The Bedford Diaries , and Kidnapped (2006–2007), and in the 1999 television remake of Annie as Daddy Warbucks' secretary & soon-to-be wife, Miss Farrell. 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.

McDonald appeared as Naomi Bennett, ex-wife of Sam, portrayed by Taye Diggs, in the television drama Private Practice, a spinoff of Grey's Anatomy. She replaced Merrin Dungey, who played the role in the series pilot. McDonald left Private Practice at the end of season four.

In films, McDonald has appeared in Best Thief in the World , It Runs in the Family , Cradle Will Rock , The Object of My Affection , and Seven Servants by Daryush Shokof which was her film acting debut in .


McDonald has recorded four 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 Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel and Jason Robert Brown.
Her next album, How Glory Goes combined both old and new works, and included composers Harold Arlen, Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Kern. Her next album Happy Songs was big band music from the '20s, '30s and '40s. Her fourth album, Build a Bridge , features songs from the jazz/pop canon, from composers as diverse as Adam Guettel , Laura Nyro, Elvis Costello, Nellie McKay, Neil Young, Rufus Wainwright, John Mayer and Randy Newman.


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.

 personal life
McDonald married bassist Peter Donovan in September 2000. They have one daughter, Zoe Madeline, who was born on February 14, 2001, and was named after McDonald's Master Class co-star and good friend Zoe Caldwell and actress Madeline Kahn. McDonald and Donovan divorced in 2009. Currently she is in a relationship with Broadway actor Will Swenson, who is notable for his performances in the 2009 revival of Hair and the original Broadway cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. On January 3, 2012, it was announced that McDonald and Swenson are engaged.

Show more

  Played TV shows  



Name Duration Released
Bill 00:00 2000
When Did I Fall In Love? 00:00 2000
Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home 00:00 2000
I Never Has Seen Snow 00:00 2000
Come Down from the Tree 00:00 2000
A Sleepin' Bee 00:00 2000
I Won't Mind 00:00 2000
Was That You? 00:00 2000
How Glory Goes 00:00 2000
I Hid My Love 00:00 2000
Somewhere 00:00 2000
I Had Myself a True Love 00:00 2000
The Man That Got Away 00:00 2000





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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Audra McDonald", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.