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Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (broadwaymusicalhome.com), a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for Audra McDonald

AWARDS SEASON 2014: Tony Award Winners

2014 Tony Awards - Show

It finally came and went – the end to an exciting awards season – and the big trophies everyone was hoping to snag.

Thank you once again for joining us as we live updated! Until next year…

Here’s the full list of nominees. Winners are marked by a winner.

Best Musical
After Midnight
Aladdin
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
winnerA Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best Play
Act One
winnerAll the Way
Casa Valentina
Mothers and Sons
Outside Mullingar

Best Revival of a Musical
winnerHedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Miserables
Violet

Best Revival of a Play
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
winnerA Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
winnerNeil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Mary Bridget Davies, A Night with Janis Joplin
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
winnerJesse Mueller, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Kelly O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night
winnerBryan Cranston, All the Way
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance, Richard III
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
winnerAudra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
winnerJames Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Spector, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Linda Emond, Cabaret
winnerLena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry, Twelfth Night
winnerMark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Sarah Greene, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
winnerSophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Best Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway
winnerRobert L. Friedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater
Aladdin (Music: Alan Menkin; Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Begeulin)
winnerThe Bridges of Madison County (Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown)
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Music: Steven Lutvak; Lyrics: Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak)
If/Then (Music: Tom Kitt; Lyrics: Brian Yorkey)

Best Choreography
winnerWarren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, Bullets Over Broadway
winnerJason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best Scenic Design of a Play
winnerBeowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, The Glass Menagerie
Es Devlin, Machinal
Christopher Oram, The Cripple of Inishmaan

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
winnerChristopher Barreca, Rocky
Julian Crouch, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Act One
Michael Krass, Machinal
Rita Ryack, Casa Valentina
winnerJenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night

Best Costume Design of a Musical
winnerLinda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Arianne Philips, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Best Sound Design of a Play
Alex Baranowski, The Cripple of Inishmaan
winnerSteve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, After Midnight
Tim O’Heir, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Mick Potter, Les Miserables
winnerBrian Ronan, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Jane Cox, Machinal
winnerNatasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Japhy Wideman, Of Mice and Men

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
winnerKevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Donald Holder, The Bridges of Madison County

Best Direction of a Play
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
winnerKenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany, The Glass Menagerie

Best Direction of a Musical
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman, Violet
winnerDarko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
winnerJane Greenwood

Regional Theatre Award
winnerSignature Theatre

Isabelle Stevenson Award
winnerRosie O’Donnell

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
winnerJoseph P. Benincasa
winnerJoan Marcus
winnerCharlotte Wilcox

The Reviews for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill are In…

LADYDAY-master675

Few shows garner overwhelming critical applause like Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and few performers command undeniable respect and admiration like Audra McDonald.  The musical, now playing at Circle in the Square, shows Billie Holiday (McDonald) in a fictional final concert near the end of her hard-fought, tiresome life.  The glory of this production rests in Audra McDonald’s performance; it’s not only that she completely captures Holiday’s late-life sound and spirit, it’s also that some critics admit to once questioning her casting in the piece!  Rest easy, those critics eat their words in the very same sentence.  McDonald is, without a doubt, one of the most revered and captivating Broadway stars, and any doubters need only snatch tickets to this thoughtfully-staged and unforgettably-performed musical to experience the majesty for themselves.

NEW YORK TIMES

“When Billie Holiday sang, history attests, her audiences tended to clam up. Even in the bustling nightclubs where she mostly performed, Holiday often insisted on total quiet before she would open her mouth. The quiet usually held, as one of the great singers of the last century turned jazz songs and standards into searching, and searing, portraits of life and love gone wrong that cast a shimmering spell. When Audra McDonald takes to the stage and pours her heart into her voice in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a similar sustained hush settles over the Circle in the Square, where the show opened on Broadway on Sunday night for a limited run. With her plush, classically trained soprano scaled down to jazz-soloist size, Ms. McDonald sings selections from Holiday’s repertoire with sensitive musicianship and rich seams of feeling that command rapt admiration.”

Read the Full Review

VARIETY

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Lanie Robertson’s elegiac lament for the jazz singer Billie Holiday at the end of her broken-down life, has been knocking around forever in regional theaters. But in all those years, this intimate bio-musical was waiting for a great singer like Audra McDonald to reach out and bring this tragic figure back from the grave. There’s an uncanny immediacy to this production, which helmer Lonny Price has shrewdly staged in the round, with theater patrons sitting and sipping drinks at little club tables while bearing witness to the final days of a lost Lady. The ungainly stage at Broadway’s Circle in the Square has proved an inspiration for set designer James Noone to recreate Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the seedy joint in North Philadelphia where Billie Holiday played one of her last club dates in 1959, three months before she died.”

Read the Full Review

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Audra McDonald has done it again. In Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a new Broadway drama imagining a late-in-life concert by the great jazz diva Billie Holiday, McDonald delivers a mesmerizing performance that is not so much an act of mimicry or even impersonation as it is a transformation. A record-breaking sixth Tony Award seems like a foregone conclusion. While McDonald’s vocal inflections can seem a tad overstudied in the show’s opening number, ”I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone,” as she spits out breaths at the end of each musical phrase, the actress quickly settles into the role and erases all memory of her operatic belter’s soprano and her naturally bubbly personality. In their place: a voice both smoky and breathy, and a demeanor that suggests a hard-lived life in the first half of the 20th century. “

Read the Full Review

LA TIMES

“Only a fool would second-guess the transformative power of Audra McDonald, but when it was announced that this five-time Tony Award-winner was going to portray Billie Holiday in the Broadway production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, I must confess that I had my qualms. When one recalls Holiday’s sublimely ruined sound at the end of her career, the period in which Lanie Robertson’s concert drama is set, one doesn’t think of McDonald’s soaring, Juilliard-burnished soprano, a gold medal voice still in its athletic prime.”

Read the Full Review

NBC NEW YORK

“It’s Audra McDonald’s world—we’re all still just living in it. For proof, swing by the Circle in the Square, where the reigning Queen of the Rialto holds court in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a late addition to this season’s Broadway calendar that showcases McDonald as jazz singer Billie Holiday. Over 90 minutes, McDonald interprets more than a dozen of the combustible artist’s recordings, among them “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruit.” The setting, a theatrical conceit, is a small bar in South Philly during spring 1959, a few months before Holiday will succumb to cirrhosis and heart failure.”

Read the Full Review

BROADWAY WORLD

“Audra McDonald’s luxurious soprano with thoughtful lyric phrasing may not be the first voice that comes to mind when drawing comparisons to the emotionally thick, laconic blues of Billie Holiday. But then, Lanie Robertson’s 1986 theatre piece, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, despite its inclusion of over a dozen Holiday-recorded standards in a 90-minute performance, is not merely a re-creation concert. It’s a drama about how a great artist’s self-destruction permeates into her art, and for that, an actor of McDonald’s high caliber is certainly required. Robertson’s inspiration for the play came when a boyfriend described for her a 1959 Holiday performance he attended in a little North Philadelphia dive, roughly three months before her death. It had been twelve years since she served jail time for drug possession and though she had sung at Carnegie Hall and appeared on Broadway since then, New York City’s refusal to grant her a new cabaret license prevented her from doing what she loved best, singing in Manhattan nightclubs.”

Read the Full Review

The 2012 Drama League Award Winners

The Drama League Awards, the only major theatergoer awards chosen by audience members, have been announced and Once, Follies, Audra McDonald, and Alan Menken took home the big prizes for musical theatre. Each of them also won the Outer Critics Circle Award in their respective categories. Will they get the Tony nod as well?

DISTINGUISHED PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL

Ghost the Musical
Leap of Faith
Mission Drift
Newsies
Nice Work If You Can Get It
winnerOnce
Queen of the Mist

DISTINGUISHED REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

Carrie
winnerFollies
Evita
The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
Jesus Christ Superstar

DISTINGUISHED PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

Clybourne Park
The Columnist
The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
The Lyons
One Man, Two Guvnors
winnerOther Desert Cities
Peter and the Starcatcher
Tribes
Seminar
Septimus and Clarissa
Venus in Fur

DISTINGUISHED REVIVAL OF A PLAY

And God Created Great Whales
winnerDeath of a Salesman
Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
How I Learned to Drive
Look Back in Anger
The Maids
Wit

DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE AWARD

Jane Alexander, The Lady From Dubuque
Nina Arianda, Venus In Fur
Annaleigh Ashford, Rent
Angela Bassett, The Mountaintop
Simon Russell Beale, Bluebird
Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
Matthew Broderick, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Kim Cattrall, Private Lives
Heather Christian, Mission Drift
James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
Michael Cristofer, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
Tyne Daly, Master Class
Jesse Eisenberg, Asuncion
Linda Emond, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures
Raúl Esparza, Leap of Faith
Santino Fontana, Sons of the Prophet
Andrew Garfield, Death of a Salesman
Russell Harvard, Tribes
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman
Samuel L. Jackson, The Mountaintop
Jeremy Jordan, Newsies, Bonnie and Clyde
Steve Kazee, Once
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
Christine Lahti, Dreams of Flying, Dreams of Falling
Angela Lansbury, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
John Larroquette, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Linda Lavin, The Lyons
Norm Lewis, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
Ricky Martin,Evita
Jan Maxwell, Follies
Jefferson Mays, Blood and Gifts
Marin Mazzie, Carrie
winnerAudra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Ellen McLaughlin, Septimus and Clarissa
Cristin Milioti, Once
Jessie Mueller, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
Carey Mulligan, Through A Glass Darkly
Cynthia Nixon, Wit
Leslie Odom, Jr., Leap of Faith
Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Denis O’Hare, An Iliad
Lily Rabe, Seminar
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical
Molly Ransom, Carrie
Condola Rashad, Stick Fly
Matthew Rhys, Look Back In Anger
Alan Rickman, Seminar
Elena Roger, Evita
Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park
Kevin Spacey, Richard III
Stephen Spinella, An Iliad
Mary Testa, Queen of the Mist
Blair Underwood, A Streetcar Named Desire
Mary Louise Wilson, 4,000 Miles

PREVIOUS DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE WINNERS

The Drama League also wishes to recognize the superb contributions to the season of its previous Distinguished Performance Award winners:

Norbert Leo Butz, How I Learned To Drive
Zoe Caldwell, Elective Affinities
Kathleen Chalfant, Painting Churches
Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
Rosemary Harris, The Road To Mecca
Hugh Jackman, Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway
Sir Derek Jacobi, King Lear
James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
Frank Langella, Man and Boy
John Lithgow, The Columnist
Patti LuPone, An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
Bebe Neuwirth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Bernadette Peters, Follies
Sam Waterston, King Lear

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSICAL THEATRE

winnerAlan Menken

UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO THE THEATRE

winnerRosie O’Donnell

FOUNDERS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN DIRECTING

winnerDiane Paulus

President Barack Obama on Broadway musicals

Yesterday, the Obama family welcomed Broadway to the White house in an event hosted by Nathan Lane, which featured performances by Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald and Brian d’Arcy James, among others. The President opened the event with a reflection on musical theatre’s national significance:

“Now there’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music….It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an eight-year-old that it can an 80-year-old — and make them both want to get up and dance….In many ways, the story of Broadway is also intertwined with the story of America. Some of the greatest singers and songwriters Broadway has ever known came to this country on a boat with nothing more than an idea in their head and a song in their heart. And they succeeded the same way that so many immigrants have succeeded — through talent and hard work and sheer determination.  Over the years, musicals have also been at the forefront of our social consciousness, challenging stereotypes, shaping our opinions about race and religion, death and disease, power and politics.  But perhaps the most American part of this truly American art form is its optimism. Broadway music calls us to see the best in ourselves and in the world around us — to believe that no matter how hopeless things may seem, the nice guy can still get the girl, the hero can still triumph over evil, and a brighter day can be waiting just around the bend.”

The event was taped and will be broadcast on PBS on October 20, 2010.

Broadway Impact for Marriage Equality

Gavin Creel and his organization, Broadway Impact, brought together a large group of Broadway actors, directors, stage managers, fans, and producers to march on Washington for gay equality this past Sunday.

It was amazing event marked by performances/speeches by the cast of Broadway’s Hair, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, David Hyde Pierce, Douglas Carter Beane, Cheyenne Jackson, Speaker Christine Quinn and Governor Paterson – whose proposed bill to grant same-sex couples the equal right to marry in New York prompted Creel to organize.

Here’s the Hair tribe performing at the event:

Did anyone who follows the blog make it to Washington?

Free Download of American River Suite by Flaherty, as Sung by Audra McDonald and Idina Menzel

The New York Pops are providing a free download of the music from their 4th of July celebration, including “American River Suite,” which was composed by Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island, Seussical) and performed by Tony Award winners Audra McDonald (110 in the Shade, Dreamgirls, Ragtime) and Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent).

Click here to download the performance now! (Available for a limited time only)


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