What a beautiful voice. Audra McDonald was born in Germany in 1970 and raised in Fresno, California. At a young age, Audra was considered “hyperactive” and was encouraged to study acting to help balance her energy. Thank goodness she did! Audra went to a performance High School, joined an acting troupe and then went on to Julliard in New York to study and perfect her voice. Audra graduated in 1993 at the age of 23 and went to work. One year after graduating, she won her first Tony! Of course she kept going, and before she turned 30 years old, Audra already won 3 Tony Awards.
While that’s incredible, it’s a good lesson to keep working. In 2014, Audra became the very first person to win 6 Tony Awards for Acting - this is more than any other actor - and the very first person to win in all four acting categories. She has also won 2 Grammy’s.
Audra loves what she does, and there are so many accolades and performances we’d love to highlight: 23 Stage Awards, 12 Broadway Plays, 7 Movies, 5 Solo Albums, 3 Audio Books and 2 Grammy’s. As well as appeared in several TV series, live recordings solo performances in Carnegie Hall, performances with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera House, Houston Opera, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony… the list goes on, and she still has many, many years in her career ahead of her.
Going back to voice we love: while winning her record 6th Tony for portraying Billie Holiday in 2014, she thanked those sisters who came before her and paved the way saying in part, "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, we look forward to seeing what the next generation can do thanks to all you are achieving today.