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Audra McDonald and Will Swenson Expecting a Baby; LADY DAY in the West End Postponed; SHUFFLE ALONG Materity Leave Begins in July

Audra is expecting!

Today it was announced that The West End production of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill will be postponed as the show's star Audra McDonald has announced that she and her husband, actor Will Swenson, are expecting a baby.

McDonald will take temporary maternity leave from her starring role in SHUFFLE ALONG Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, beginning on July 24. She will return to the Tony Award-nominated musical this winter. During Ms. McDonald's hiatus from the production, the role of 'Lottie Gee' will be played by Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens, fresh off of ecstatic rave reviews for her solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn. During this same time period, Savion Glover, SHUFFLE ALONG's Tony Award-nominated choreographer, and widely considered to be the world's greatest living tap dancer, will also step into the show, as envisioned by the Director and Book writer, George C. Wolfe.

In a statement, Ms. McDonald said, "Who knew that tap dancing during perimenopause could lead to pregnancy? Will and I are completely surprised-and elated-to be expecting a new addition to our family. I am so very grateful to everyone in New York and London for allowing me to rearrange my schedule to accommodate this little miracle. While I'm disappointed I have to postpone my West End debut in Lady Day, I'm glad I'll be able to spend a little more time inShuffle Along this summer and will look forward to setting up a 1920s-themed nursery in my dressing room when I return to the show."

The couple married in 2012. While this is their first child together, she is mother to a daughter, and he is father to two sons, from their previous marriages.

Lady Day ticket purchasers should contact the Box Office or their supplier to arrange a refund.

A record-breaking six-time Tony Award winner (Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), McDonald has also appeared on Broadway in The Secret Garden, Marie Christine (Tony nomination), Henry IV, and 110 in the Shade (Tony nomination). The Juilliard-trained soprano's opera credits include La voix humaine and Send at Houston Grand Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Los Angeles Opera. On television, she was most recently seen as the Mother Abbess in NBC's "The Sound of Music Live!" and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC's "Private Practice" for four seasons. She has received Emmy nominations for "Wit," "A Raisin in the Sun," and for her role as official host of PBS's "Live From Lincoln Center." Other television credits include "The Good Wife," "Homicide: Life on the Street," "Law & Order: SVU," "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years," "The Bedford Diaries," "Kidnapped," and the 1999 remake of "Annie." On film, she has appeared in Seven Servants, The Object of My Affection, Cradle Will Rock, It Runs in the Family, The Best Thief in the World, She Got Problems, and Rampart. A two-time Grammy Award winner and exclusive recording artist for Nonesuch Records, she released her fifth solo album for the label, Go Back Home, in 2013. McDonald also maintains a major career as a concert artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. An ardent proponent of marriage equality and an advocate for at-risk and underprivileged youth, she sits on the boards of Broadway Impact and Covenant House.

Rhiannon Giddens was a 2000 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied opera. The North Carolina native is a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning African American folk band, Carolina Chocolate Drops. In September 2013, she stopped the show and brought the audience to its feet at theAnother Day, Another Time concert, produced by T Bone Burnett and Joel and Ethan Coen at Town Hall. In 2014, Giddens recorded alongside Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith and Jim James for Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, a compilation of previously unreleased songs written by Bob Dylan. In February 2015, she released her solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn on Nonesuch Records, including songs written by Patsy Cline, Odetta, Dolly Parton and Nina Simone, among others. Reviewing the album, the UK's Sunday Times wrote: "Every now and then, an artist comes along whose voice transforms almost any kind of song. Rhiannon Giddens can sing blues and Gaelic jigs, Nashville ballads and vintage jazz, Appalachian laments and sassy R & B. She is a performer who thinks long and hard about how to approach material, yet manages to tap into the emotional core of everything she touches." SHUFFLE ALONG will mark Ms. Giddens' Broadway debut.




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