Audra McDonald Analyzes Playing Mother Abbess In Live TV THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Five-time Tony Award-winning stage and screen star Audra McDonald opens up about her new role in the NBC TV event THE SOUND OF MUSIC and reveals her insights into the process of performing live on TV as part of a new interview.
First and foremost, McDonald credits executive producer Neil Meron for enmeshing her with the enterprise - who, alongside partner Craig Zadan, produced numerous hit movie musical properties such as CHICAGO and HAIRSPRAY prior to this audacious new venture.
"I have to credit Neil [Meron] for thinking outside of the box and inviting me to be part of it," McDonald reveals.
Additionally, McDonald adds, "Most people only know the movie version, so they think of Mother Abbess as this 70-year-old woman; but in the staged version, the first woman to ever play her was 43 years old. And that's right where I am."
McDonald also discusses the background she has devised for the character in her recent preparation for playing the role.
"I also have ideas about where she's come from and what her life has been, what in her past life led her to put on the habit and take on this lifestyle. I feel like when she guides Maria and pushes her toward living a life outside the convent, I think she does it with some sort of knowledge about what lies beyond the convent walls," McDonald Says.
McDonald concludes of the character, "She did it, she knows it and she chose the convent walls - that makes her more interesting to me."
As for whether or not she is leery of taking on yet another high-profile live TV performance gig following her hosting of LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER this year (and continuing her duties into next), McDonald opines, "No. I've done so many "Live From Lincoln Centers". I've also done fully staged, costumed productions that were broadcast live."
Outlining the finer points of the SOUND OF MUSIC live TV production itself, McDonald states, "It'll be performed on a soundstage, then broadcast live while we're doing it. But we're approaching it as if it were a staged night in the theater."
So, is the iconic Broadway diva nervous at all? "I think it's going to be a big challenge, it's a huge task, but I'm excited about it. It's a very diverse cast and it's going to be fun. It doesn't scare me," McDonald confesses.
Check out the original article on the matter here.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride