The last time famed Broadway soprano Audra McDonald performed in the Savannah Music Festival was in 2008 at Trustees Theater. On April 7, she will return to Trustees for a sold-out show as part of her North American tour.
“They’re very intimate evenings,” McDonald said in a recent interview with the Miami Herald about her ongoing concert tour. “I’m very informal and I chat with the audience. Just try and keep it informal so it feels like a good connection, and it’s a chance for an audience to get to know me outside of my roles.”
The Salt Lake Tribune said McDonald is “comfortable, funny and charming onstage. She’s chatty and personable — her goal is to make the audience … feel as if they’re gathered in her living room.”
Since she last appeared in Savannah, McDonald has kept up a busy schedule by doing work on stage and the small and large screen.
She has appeared on stage as Ruth Younger in “A Raisin in the Sun,” Bess in “Porgy and Bess,” and Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”
On television, she reprised her role for the TV movie of “A Raisin in the Sun.” She was a series regular on “Private Practice” in the role of Dr. Naomi Bennett from 2007-13. She played Mother Abbess in NBC's “The Sound of Music Live!” in 2013.
She also was in last year’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” playing Madame Garderobe.
Her most current work is a recurring role on the new season of “The Good Fight," which is streaming on CBS All Access.
Since she got her big break in a revival of the Broadway classic “Carousel” in 1994, McDonald has released five solo albums and appears on at least 15 different cast recordings for various musicals and films. That kind of background provides for a unique show where every song may be a surprise, because McDonald pulls from music beyond her own work.
McDonald was raised in Fresno, Calif., and had always dreamed of being on Broadway. She did dinner theater while attending performing arts schools for middle and high school. She then received her vocal training at the Juilliard School in New York City and started auditioning for plays after graduation.
She received her first Tony Award for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in “Carousel.” She has since won five more Tonys for her performances in “Masterclass,” “Ragtime,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Porgy and Bess,” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”
With six wins, she holds the record for having the most Tony Awards for performance than any other actor and is also the only person to win in all four Tony performance categories.