Tony Winner Audra McDonald Comes to Houston Tonight
Tony Award-winner and vocalist Audra McDonald is coming to Houston tonight, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. in the Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center, presented by Society for the Performing Arts. Accompanying her on stage will be Houston native Andy Einhorn.
Broadway legend Audra McDonald returns to the concert stage after four seasons on the hit ABC television series "Private Practice," and after winning a record-tying fifth Tony Award for her unforgettable performance in the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Joined by her music director, Andy Einhorn, McDonald will perform an intimate evening of favorite show tunes, classic songs from the movies, original pieces written especially for her and music from her latest album Go Back Home.
Blessed with a luminous soprano and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling, she is equally at home on Broadway and opera stages as in roles on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world. McDonald made her opera debut in 2006 at Houston Grand Opera, where she starred in a double-bill: Poulenc's monodrama La voix humaine and the world premiere of its companion piece, Send, written by one of McDonald's frequent collaborators, Michael John LaChiusa.
She received classical voice training at Juilliard, and just one year after graduating she won her first Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Carousel at Lincoln Center Theater, directed by Nicholas Hytner. She also received Tony Awards for her performances in Terrence McNally's Master Class (1996) and Ahrens & Flaherty's Ragtime (1998). In 2004 she won her fourth Tony for A Raisin in the Sun, and in 2012 she won her fifth-and her first in the leading actress category-for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, placing her in the illustrious company of Broadway legends Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury as the only people in Tony history to win five performance awards. McDonald's other theater credits include The Secret Garden (1993), Marie Christine (1999), Henry IV (2004), 110 in the Shade (2007) and her Public Theater "Shakespeare in the Park" debut in Twelfth Night alongside Anne Hathaway (2009).
NBC recently announced that McDonald has joined the cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music as Mother Abbess, the head of Nonnberg Abbey, in a live production. Audra stars opposite Carrie Underwood as the young governess Maria, Stephen Moyer as Captain von Trapp, Laura Benanti as Elsa Schrader and Christian Borle as Max Dettweiler. The three-hour television event will air on December 5.
An honors graduate from Rice University, Andy Einhorn is in demand as a music director, conductor, pianist, orchestrator, arranger and vocal coach, and boasts Broadway credits for Brief Encounter, The Light in the Piazza, the recent revival of Evita and Sondheim on Sondheim, which won a Grammy nod for Best Original Broadway Cast Recording. He is also recognized for his frequent collaborations with many of the musical theatre world's biggest stars, including F. Murray Abraham, Kristin Chenoweth, Barbara Cook and Ana Gasteyer, in addition to Audra McDonald. He currently serves as music director of the new Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, directed by Mark Brokaw. As resident music director on the Sweeney Todd national tour, Einhorn received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Music Direction. He worked on the first national tour of The Light in the Piazza, and other tour credits includeSouth Pacific, White Christmas, Mamma Mia! and The Lion King.