Back to Cast
Liz Reddick-Lawrence
Audra McDonald
Biography

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of Time magazine's "100 most influential people of 2015" and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts—America's highest honor for achievement in the arts—from President Barack Obama. McDonald's Tony-winning performances were from her roles in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, the role which also served as the vehicle for her 2017 debut on London's West End. In addition, she appeared on Broadway in The Secret Garden, Marie Christine (Tony nomination), Henry IV, 110 in the Shade (Tony nomination) and Shuffle Along, or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. The Juilliard-trained soprano's opera credits include La voix humaine and Send at Houston Grand Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Los Angeles Opera.

On television, she was seen by millions as the Mother Abbess in NBC's The Sound of Music Live! and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC's Private Practice. She won an Emmy Award for her role as host of PBS's Live From Lincoln Center and has received nominations for Wit, A Raisin in the Sun, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill.

On film, she has appeared in Seven Servants, The Object of My Affection, Cradle Will Rock, It Runs in the Family, The Best Thief in the World, She Got Problems, Rampart, Ricki and the Flash, Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast, and the movie-musical Hello Again. An exclusive recording artist for Nonesuch Records, she has released five solo albums for the label. McDonald also maintains a major career as a concert artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras.

Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson and mother to her children.