*So how does one become a Broadway superstar?
While there are countless paths to New York’s Great White Way, beginning actors all cite the same three pathways to the big stage – audition, audition, audition.
“I auditioned for a lot of summer stock, and then I auditioned for ‘The Secret Garden’ on Broadway, and I got cast in the national tour instead,” says Tony winner and former “Private Practice’ star Audra McDonald, who takes center stage on Friday’s broadcast of PBS’ “Live from Lincoln Center,” which she also hosts.
It was during the national tour of The Secret Garden when McDonald got her first agent.
“And the agent,” she recalls, “said they are doing a production of Carousel with a color-blind cast at Lincoln Center. ‘We want you to go in for it.’ Then Carousel happened.
That was in September of 1993; Audra was 23-years-old. By her 28th birthday, the actress was a three-time Tony winner for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime. She won her fourth in 2004 for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun,” and in June 2012 earned a fifth Tony for her portrayal of Bess in The Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess.”
On Friday, May 24, she wraps her seven-broadcast run as host of “Live from Lincoln Center” with her own Lincoln Center concert, “Audra McDonald in Concert: Go Back Home.” (The title derives from the song “Go Back Home” in the Kander and Ebb musical “The Scottsboro Boys”).
Backed by a 35-piece orchestra she will take a musical trip through Broadway history with songs from Cole Porter, Gus Kahn, John Kander, Frank Loesser, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, George Gershwin, Adam Guettel, Gabriel Kahane and Jule Styne.
Below, Audra McDonald says she hopes her run as host “Live at Lincoln Center” helped to stir some passions among a younger, more diverse and social media-driven audience.
Watch a preview of “Audra McDonald in Concert: Go Back Home” below.