56 Facts About Audra McDonald


Audra McDonald was honored with the National Medal of Arts in 2016 from President Barack Obama, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2017.


Audra McDonald's 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.


Audra McDonald 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, and The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle.


On television, McDonald portrayed Dr Naomi Bennett in the ABC series Private Practice from 2007 to 2011.


Audra McDonald played Liz Lawrence in The Good Wife, and its the spinoff series The Good Fight for which she received three Critics Choice Award nominations.


Audra McDonald 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 and Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun.


Audra McDonald won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program in 2015 for her work hosting the program Live from Lincoln Center.


On film, Audra McDonald is best known for her portrayals of Maureen in Ricki and the Flash, Madame de Garderobe in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and Barbara Siggers Franklin in Respect.


Audra McDonald has been nominated seven times for the NAACP Image Awards for her work in television and film.


Audra McDonald was born in West Berlin, West Germany, the daughter of American parents, Anna Kathryn, a university administrator, and Stanley James Audra McDonald Jr.


Audra 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.


Audra McDonald graduated from the Roosevelt School of the Arts program within Theodore Roosevelt High School in Fresno.


Audra McDonald got her start in acting with Dan Pessano and Roger Rocka's Good Company Players, beginning in their junior company.


Audra 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.


Audra McDonald 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.


Audra McDonald reprised her Raisin role for a 2008 television adaptation, earning her a second Emmy Award nomination.


Audra 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.


Audra McDonald is known for defying racial typecasting in her various Tony Award-winning and -nominated roles.


Audra McDonald 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.


Audra McDonald's performance was recorded and won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2009.


Audra McDonald 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.


In 2016, Audra 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.


Shuffle Along closed on July 24,2016, and Audra McDonald began a maternity hiatus at that time.


In 2019 Audra McDonald played as Frankie in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at the Broadhurst Theatre, earning her ninth Tony Award nomination for her performance for Best Actress in a Play.


Audra 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.


Audra McDonald won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for this role, making her the first person to earn six Tony Award wins for acting and the first person to win a Tony Award in all four acting categories.


Audra McDonald received a 2016 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in the broadcast.


Audra McDonald had planned to make her West End debut as Holiday in Lady Day in June through September 2016, but after becoming pregnant she postponed these plans.


Audra McDonald performed in Lady Day in June 2017 through September 9,2017, at the Wyndham's Theatre in the West End.


Audra McDonald has maintained ties to her classical training and repertoire.


Audra McDonald 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, Audra 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.


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


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.


Audra McDonald 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.


Audra McDonald performed three concerts, titled "Audra McDonald Sings Broadway", in the Sydney Opera House in November 2015, which included "The Facebook Song" by Kate Miller-Heidke.


Audra McDonald has made many television and film appearances, both musical and dramatic.


In 2003, Audra McDonald starred as Sarah Langley in It Runs in the Family, and as Jackie Brock in nine episodes of short-lived Mister Sterling.


Audra McDonald 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.


In 2008, Audra McDonald starred as Ruth Younger in the critically acclaimed television movie A Raisin in the Sun, and was nominated at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, and at the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie.


Since 2012, Audra McDonald has served as host for the PBS series Live from Lincoln Center, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program with the show's producers for Sweeney Todd, aired in 2015.


In 2016, Audra McDonald starred as Billie Holiday in the filmed stage production, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, for which she received critical acclaim.


Audra McDonald earned nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series.


In 2017, Audra McDonald starred in Walt Disney Pictures motion picture Beauty and the Beast as Madame de Garderobe, earning a nomination at the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.


Audra McDonald stayed in the cast for the next seasons, and was nominated twice for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.


In 2021, Audra McDonald portrayed Rachel Boutella in television series The Bite and hosted the television ceremony of the 74th Tony Awards.


Audra 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.


Audra McDonald is the stepmother to Swenson's two sons from his previous marriage.


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


In October 2020, Audra 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.


Audra 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.


Audra McDonald joined the Covenant House board of Directors in 2014.


Audra McDonald was the recipient of their 2018 Beacon of Hope Award.


The tour ended due to Audra 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.


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


On September 22,2016, Audra McDonald was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama for 2015.