Under The Duvet Productions

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SPOTLIGHT: Six-Time Tony Award Winner AUDRA McDONALD by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

Audra McDonald is a stage, film, and television actress, and singer who is classically trained. She is a Grammy Award winner, Emmy Award nominee, and outstandingly a six-time Tony Award winner, holding the most Tony Awards to date for an actress/actor. She made history and became Broadway’s most decorated performer when she won her sixth Tony Award, for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, in 2014. In addition to setting the record for most competitive wins by an actor, she also became the first person to receive awards in all four acting categories. On “The Great White Way” she’s known as “Broadway Royalty.”

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Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald performing in New York, November 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

Her Tony Award winning Broadway shows include Carousel in 1994, Master Class in 1996, Ragtime in 1998, A Raisin in the Sun in 2004, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess in 2012, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill in 2014. Her notable Tony Award nominations include Marie Christine in 2000 and 110 in the Shade in 2007. By the time she was 28 years old she was already a three-time Tony Award winner for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime accomplishing this feat within five years. Audra’s fifth Tony Award win for her portrayal of “Bess” in Broadway’s The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, thus tying Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris. Her 2014 performance as “Billie Holiday” in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill earned Audra her sixth Tony award and made her the first person to win all four acting categories. Broadway history, Women’s history, and Black history was made. In addition, she has won every major theatre award in New York along with her Tony Awards; including Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, and Drama League Awards.

Although has appeared in numerous films and TV dramas, including Private Practice on ABC; she remains best known for her stage and Broadway work, as well as her active concert and recording career. Audra is classically trained in voice, and maintains close ties to her classical repertoire. She has six solo recordings, and is featured on countless other recorded albums and videos. Her Musical Cast recordings include Carousel in 1994, Ragtime in 1998, I Was Looking at the Ceiling and The I Saw the Sky in 1998, Wonderful Town in 1999, Marie Christine in 1999, Annie in 1999, Sweeney Todd live at the New York Philharmonic in 2000, Dreamgirls in Concert cast recording in 2001, 110 in the Shade in 2007, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro (first complete recording) in 2009, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess in 2012, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill in 2014. In 2008, she won Grammy Awards for Best Opera Recording and Classical Album for the Los Angeles production of Kurt Weill’s opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

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Six-Time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald being interviewed at the After Party for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Gril, New York, April 13, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

“I want to thank all the shoulders of the strong and brave and courageous women than I am standing on. I am standing on Lena Horne’s shoulders. I am standing on Maya Angelou’s shoulders. I am standing on Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee, and most of all, Billie Holiday. You deserved so much more than you were given when you were on this planet. This is for you Billie.” —Audra McDonald’s 2014 Tony Award acceptance speech.

“I was missing Broadway and thinking that’s what I wanted to do, but here I was studying classically. And I happened upon the Glyndebourne performance of Porgy and Bess, with Cynthia Haymon as Bess. And I listened to it incessantly. I memorized it from top to bottom and thought, If I have to sing opera, here’s one I’d love to sing, and here’s a role I’d love to play. The role of Bess is a notoriously difficult one. There’s very few quiet moments for Bess, they’re all very big, very emotional and very rangy. And to commit to that night after night after night is very difficult.” —Audra McDonald on her role as “Bess”.

Photography by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY. All Rights Reserved. Various Photographs:

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Audra McDonald being honored with a “Pipe Night” at The Players Club, Booth Mansion, Gramercy, New York, October 21, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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The Drama League’s 29th Annual Musical Celebration of Broadway honoring Audra McDonald at The Pierre Hotel, New York, February 11, 2013. Photograph of Audra with Zoe Caldwell by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald being honored with a “Pipe Night” at The Players Club, Booth Mansion, Gramercy, New York, October 21, 2012. Photograph of Audra with opera soprano Martina Arroyo by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald being honored with a “Pipe Night” at The Players Club, Booth Mansion, Gramercy, New York, October 21, 2012. Photograph of Audra with Phylicia Rashād and Angela Lansbury by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald holding her 5th Tony Award for her role as “Bess” in Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. The 66th Annual Tony Awards, New York, June 10, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald holding her 5th Tony Award for her role as “Bess” in Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, the end of a long night, The 66th Annual Tony Awards, New York, June 10, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald holding the cake to celebrate her 100th show at Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Circle in the Square Theatre, NY, July 2, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Six-Time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, After Party for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, New York, April 13, 2014. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Six-Time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis, After Party for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, New York, April 13, 2014. (Norm Lewis her former co-star, portraying “Porgy” in Porgy & Bess). Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald with her “Pipe Night” award at The Players Club, Booth Mansion, Gramercy, New York, October 21, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess Meet & Greet the Press at the New 42nd Street Studios in New York City, December 6, 2011. Photograph of Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald, with Caroline, Princess of Hanover, and her daughter Alexandra, at Porgy and Bess, New York, July 21, 2012. (Caroline, Princess of Hanover, is the eldest child of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco , and actress Grace Kelly. Caroline is married to Ernst August, Prince of Hanover). Photography by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Steven Spielberg backstage, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, New York, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Joan Rivers backstage, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, New York, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Woody Harrelson backstage, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, New York, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Vanessa Williams backstage, The Trip To Bountiful, New York, May 24, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Cicely Tyson backstage, The Trip To Bountiful, New York, May 24, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Tony Award winning director Diane Paulus, Outer Critics Circle Awards at Sardi’s, New York, May 13, 2013. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Bernadette Peters backstage, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, New York, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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Audra McDonald and Carmen de Lavallade, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, New York, 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

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The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess Closing Night After Party, SoHo, New York, 2012. Photograph of Paul Masse, Norm Lewis, and Audra McDonald by Lisa Pacino. This is one Lisa Pacino’s favorite photos.

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Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald performing in New York, November 2012. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

A Retrospect:

AUDRA and Zoe Caldwell MASTER CLASS 1995

Master Class is a play by Terrence McNally, with incidental music by Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, and Vincenzo Bellini. The play opened on Broadway November 5, 1995, starring Zoe Caldwell and Audra McDonald. Both won a Tony Award for their performance. Photograph via Internet.

Photographs and Article by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY. All Rights Reserved.

Website:

http://lisapacino.smugmug.com/

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