Spotlight: Audra McDonald

audraThis fall Broadway Center for the Performing Arts welcomes Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer Audra McDonald to the stage for a performance you will not want to miss. Both a gifted actress and singer with a stellar soprano voice, McDonald has dazzled on Broadway and television alike. We caught up with the dynamic star to find out more about what makes her shine.

FROM WHOM DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION?
I look to the great women who came before me, including Ruby Dee, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Maya Angelou and Diahann Carroll. Zoe Caldwell is also a huge inspiration. I learned so much from her when we worked together in a Master Class. She is my friend and mentor and I always look to her for advice.

WHAT CONTINUES TO BE YOUR FAVORITE PART OF PERFORMING?
There’s nothing quite like the experience of live performance-there’s a visceral thrill that you can’t get anywhere else. You get a kind of immediate feedback when performing in front of a live audience that you don’t get shooting for television or film. I’m most fulfilled when I feel like there’s been a connection with the audience- something shared, something learned and something received. I want people to feel like they are in my living room and vice versa.

HOW DO YOU CONTINUE TO EVOLVE PROFESSIONALLY?
I am constantly trying to evolve and become a better actress, so I am always learning from my past characters.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT BOTH PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?
My daughter, Zoe, is by far my most gratifying accomplishment. As for my career, singing and acting were my passions as a kid and I just wanted to be on the Broadway stage. Everything that has happened since my Broadway debut has totally surpassed my dreams.

ANDREA LERUM
images by autumn de wilde

For additional information: broadwaycenter.org | audramcdonald.net