Audra McDonald Audra McDonald Audra McDonald
American Symphonia 2007-08
Audra McDonald
Audra Ann McDonald
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Earning an unprecedented three Tony Awards before the age of 30 (Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime) and a fourth in 2004 (A Raisin in the Sun), singer and actress Audra McDonald is frequently compared to legendary performers such as Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. But like all great artists, she is a unique force, blending a luscious, classically-trained soprano with an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling. In addition to her theatrical work she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist appearing regularly on many of the great stages of the world.

During the 2007-2008 season, Audra McDonald returns to the Ravinia Festival for a special concert with Patti LuPone; she also appears in concerts with the New Jersey Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony, both conducted by frequent collaborator Ted Sperling. A concert tour in the spring of 2008 spans the country from Boston to Berkeley.

Beginning in the fall of 2007, Ms. McDonald can be seen as Dr. Naomi Bennett in the new ABC television series Private Practice. She also appeared on ABC in a made-for-television movie version of A Raisin in the Sun, which aired in early 2008, alongside hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, her co-star from the 2004 Broadway revival.

In September 2006, Audra McDonald released her first solo album in four years—Build a Bridge—on Nonesuch Records. Her fourth solo recording for the label, Build a Bridge looks beyond her usual repertoire and explores music written by contemporary singer/songwriters, including Elvis Costello, Nellie McKay, John Mayer, Randy Newman, Laura Nyro, Neil Young, Rufus Wainwright, and two songs by her longtime collaborator, musical-theater composer Adam Guettel. She embarked on a U.S. tour, stopping in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Fresno, and San Francisco to perform selections from Build a Bridge. In New York, she appeared at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room as part of the American Songbook series in a concert that was broadcast nationwide on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. These programs also featured her customary offering of Broadway favorites and songs from the contemporary musical-theater repertoire.

The 2006-2007 season also saw the soprano return to the New York Philharmonic for a New Year’s Eve concert (also broadcast live on PBS); a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a tribute to Sidney Poitier; and duo concerts with Barbara Cook in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Orange County. Ms. McDonald concluded the season with a highly-anticipated return to Broadway, going on to receive a sixth Tony nomination for her performance as Lizzie Curry in the Roundabout Theatre’s revival of 110 in the Shade, directed by Lonnie Price.

Audra McDonald made her Los Angeles Opera debut in February 2007 as Jenny in John Doyle’s production of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, conducted by James Conlon. This marked the second operatic engagement of her career; she made a highly-praised debut at Houston Grand Opera in March 2006 in a double-bill featuring Poulenc’s famous monodrama La Voix Humaine, coupled with the world premiere of Send, a companion piece to the Poulenc written by one of McDonald’s frequent collaborators, Michael John LaChiusa.

Audra McDonald has sung regularly with all the major American orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony, under many of the world’s greatest conductors, such as John Adams, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas. In the spring of 2005 she “previewed” a scene from John Adams’s not-yet-premiered opera, Doctor Atomic, for the New York Philharmonic, with the composer conducting. Earlier she was the muse behind the Ellington Suite, a unique set of arrangements of favorite Duke Ellington tunes created by several of America’s top arrangers and commissioned jointly by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. Overseas she is a returning guest at the BBC Proms (where she was only the second American in over 100 years to solo on the famed “Last Night of the Proms”), with the London Symphony Orchestra, with the Berlin Philharmonic, and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

The releases of Way Back To Paradise (named Adult Record of the Year by the New York Times) in 1998, and the best-selling How Glory Goes in 2000, launched Ms. McDonald's solo recording career. Happy Songs, her third disc under her exclusive contract with Nonesuch, was primarily comprised of classics by Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, and the Gershwins. Her other discs include a live concert recording of Dreamgirls (featuring Lillias White and Heather Headley) on Nonesuch; the original cast recordings of Ahrens & Flaherty’s Ragtime and Michael John LaChiusa’s Marie Christine on RCA Victor; revival cast recordings of Carousel on Broadway Angel and 110 in the Shade on PS Classics; John Adams’s I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I saw the Sky, conducted by the composer on Nonesuch; Sweeney Todd: Live at the Philharmonic, conducted by Andrew Litton; Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town conducted by Sir Simon Rattle on EMI; Adam Guettel’s Myths and Hymns and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Bright Eyed Joy on Nonesuch; and the original film soundtrack of Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock on BMG.

CBS's Peabody Award-winning Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years introduced Audra McDonald to television audiences as a dramatic actress. She went on to co-star with Victor Garber and Kathy Bates in the critically lauded ABC/Disney production of Annie. Following her Emmy-nominated performance in Wit, the HBO film of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play directed by Mike Nichols and starring Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald returned to network television in the political drama Mister Sterling, produced by Emmy Award-winner Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. (The West Wing), and starring Josh Brolin. In 2006-2007 she had a recurring role on NBC’s television series Kidnapped. She has also been profiled by 60 Minutes and The Today Show, was a frequent guest on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and was a guest co-host of The View with Barbara Walters.

Born into a musical family, Audra McDonald grew up in Fresno, California. She received her classical vocal training at The Juilliard School.

Audra Ann McDonald Links
 Audra McDonald at Wikipedia
May 25NHT 2004-05Audra McDonaldSilva
May 31NHT 2007-08Audra McDonaldJaqua
Audra Ann McDonald appears in these Am Symphonia 07-08 events:
Saturday May 31
7:30 pAudra McDonald
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