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Backstage with Richard Ridge: From Sarah Brown to Lady Day- SAG Nominee Audra McDonald Shares Stories of Her Legendary Career

She won your heart as Lottie Gee, Billie Holliday, and Bess (and that's been just the past few years). Audra McDonald has grown to be perhaps the greatest talent of this generation of live theatre- and she has six Tony Awards to prove it. From Ragtime to Macbeth, Carousel to A Raisin in the Sun, watch below as Richard Ridge chats with the 2017 SAG nominee as a part of SAG-AFTRA Foundation's Conversations series.

Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. Recipient of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2015. In addition to her Tony-winning performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, she has appeared on Broadway in The Secret Garden, Marie Christine (Tony nomination), Henry IV,110 in the Shade (Tony nomination), and Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. 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 seen by millions as the Mother Abbess in NBC's The Sound of Music Live! and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC's Private Practice. She won an Emmy Award for her role as host of PBS's Live From Lincoln Center and has received nominations for Wit, A Raisin in the Sun, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. On film, she recently appeared opposite Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash and plays the Garderobe in Disney's upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast. An exclusive recording artist for Nonesuch Records, she has released five solo albums for the label. McDonald also maintains a major career as a concert artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother to her growing family.


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