As a child, Broadway star Audra McDonald would rehearse Tony Award acceptance speeches in front of her bathroom mirror, she tells Mo Rocca in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD to be broadcast today, May 25, 2014 (9:00 AM ET) on the CBS Television Network.
"I used to practice Tony speeches in my bathroom with my hairbrush," McDonald tells Rocca. "I wish I could make that up."
The practice paid off. McDonald, now starring as Billie Holiday in the Broadway production of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill," has won five of the coveted awards, and was nominated again this year for her portrayal of the pioneering jazz singer.
McDonald says she spent a year and a half researching the heroin-addicted and troubled Holiday before portraying her on Broadway.
"But eight months ago, once I discovered all of these recordings of her rehearsals of her speaking, where she's been drinking and she's just with her band or her close friends and she really lets loose, her speaking voice is very similar to my grandmother's," McDonald says. "I thought, 'Oh, she sounds like Nana when she speaks. Maybe that's my way in.' And through that, I ended up finding her singing voice."
McDonald talks with Rocca about her early love of the theater, growing up in Fresno, Calif., and attending Julliard, where, while studying classical voice, she struggled with the feeling that she might never attain her dream of working on Broadway.
McDonald and Rocca also visit 133rd Street in Harlem, where Billie Holiday was discovered in the early 1930s. McDonald recalls an interview where Holiday told 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace that what she wanted most was a beautiful home, a family and control over her own life.
"And all of those sort of domestic things that she craved and wanted desperately, I'm fortunate to have," McDonald tells Rocca. "I'm the luckiest person I know."
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.
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