Audra McDonald’s sixth Tony Award win has made history. The accomplished opera singer and actress won the Best Actress award last night for her leading role in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” sweeping all categories in which one can win a Tony: leading, featured, play and musical. She is the first to achieve this.
For her portrayal of Billie Holliday, the conflicted, drug-addicted legendary blues singer who died in 1959 at the age of 44, McDonald received acclaimed reviews. The N.Y. Times’ Charles Isherwood writes, “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…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.”
Onstage last night, she dedicated the award to “all the shoulders of the strong and brave and courageous women that I’m standing on,” she said, which included African American trailblazers Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne and Billie Holiday.
Read more at the Washington Post.