Audra McDonald is recognized for 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.
In addition to her Tony-winning performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, she has 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 Poulenc’s La voix humaine and Michael John LaChiusa’s Send at Houston Grand Opera, and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Los Angeles Opera. She made her San Francisco Symphony debut in 1998 and was heard here most recently in the Symphony Pride concert last April.
On television, Ms. McDonald has been seen as the Mother Abbess in NBC’s The Sound of Music Live!, and she played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s Private Practice. She won an Emmy Award for her role as host of PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center and has received nominations for Wit, A Raisin in the Sun, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. In 2018, she joins the cast of CBS’ The Good Fight. 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, Ricky and the Flash, the 2017 live-action remake of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and the upcoming movie musical Hello Again.
An exclusive Nonesuch Records recording artist, she has released five solo albums for the label. She can also be heard in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town conducted by Simon Rattle on EMI, the New York Philharmonic’s release of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and Dreamgirls in concert, as well as the first recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro, and Broadway cast albums of Carousel, Ragtime, Marie Christine, 110 in the Shade, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.
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.