Record producer and founder of Motown Records Berry Gordy onstage after receiving the Unity Globe Award during The 16th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit – Day 1 at The Roosevelt Hotel on January 31, 2013 in New York City
*The Berry Gordy memoir which inspired the Broadway hit “Motown: The Musical” is being reissued as an e-book, reports Billboard.
Gordy’s “To Be Loved,” first published in 1994, had been out of print. The e-edition is scheduled for release Thursday by Rosetta Books, a digital publisher. The book covers Gordy’s rise from high school dropout to head of a record label that featured Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross and turned out scores of hits in the 1960s and `70s.
The book was adapted for “Motown: The Musical,” which Gordy co-produced. The show has been nominated for four Tonys, with the awards ceremony scheduled for Sunday.
In a statement issued by Rosetta, Gordy said he had written the book to “capture the remarkable times” and “great artists” of the Motown era.
*The new Broadway production of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, featuring Emmy-winning stage and screen star Cicely Tyson, has extended its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The production, which officially opened April 23, had been scheduled for a 14-week limited engagement through July 7. It has now extended an additional eight weeks and will continue through Sept. 1.
Bountiful was recently nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Play (Tyson), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad), Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada) and Best Revival of a Play.
The cast also includes Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Jerry Maguire,” “Red Tails”), Emmy Award nominee Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives”), Rashad (Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias,” Broadway’s Stick Fly), Tom Wopat, Devon Abner, Curtis Billings, Pat Bowie, Leon Addison Brown, Arthur French, Susan Heyward, Bill Kux, Linda Powell and Charles Turner.
*Audra McDonald has been hosting this season’s “Live From Lincoln Center” series on PBS, but she’s set to command center stage next month for the show’s season finale.
The special, titled “Audra McDonald In Concert: Go Back Home,” will see the “Private Practice” star and five-time Tony Award winner performing a gala concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Her song list will include numbers from a variety of musical theater composers featured on her upcoming album, “Go Back Home,” her first solo effort in seven years.
Picking the songs for the album and the special, she explains, comes down to whether or not she gets a visceral reaction from the music and lyrics.
“It’s really a gut reaction that I have to the material immediately,” she told us during interviews for the special. “I know pretty quickly, and it’s not passing judgment on songs that I choose not to sing, because it has more to do with whether or not I feel a connection to it.”
“And I can feel a connection to many songs that I won’t necessarily sing – because I don’t think they’re right for me,” she adds. “But if there is something in my gut that immediately responds in a way that I know, ‘That’s a song that I would be able to interpret’; that resonates with me in some way, whether it’s something comic or a ballad or something that’s contemplative or whatever, it has to resonate within my gut. There’s no science to it. I wish I had a scientific mind, but I don’t.”
After leaving Los Angeles-based “Private Practice” in 2011 to be closer to her family in New York, including her 12-year-old daughter Zoe, McDonald returned for January’sseries finale – wrapping a gig that she only took as a way to conquer her fear of the small screen.
…Yes, the five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran chose to fly back and forth between L.A. and her various theater projects in NYC for four years during her run on the Shonda Rhimes series – just to face her fear of television.
She explains below.
“Audra McDonald In Concert: Go Back Home” premieres Friday, May 24 at 9 p.m. on PBS.
Below, Audra says she and the Lincoln Center go way back.
The show – inspired by late radio legend Dewey Phillips, one of the first white disc jockeys to broadcast soul music in the 1950s – will have its final curtain call on Aug. 5, following 30 preview performances and 1,166 regular stagings at Manhattan’s Shubert Theatre.
Producers tell the Associated Press they have yet to recoup initial investments, but hope to do so by the end of its New York run.
Memphis, which won Best Musical at the 2010 Tony Awards, will continue touring the U.S. for a second year, and there are plans to take the production to London’s West End.
(L-R) Actors Phillip Boykin, Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis join the cast to take a bow during the curtain call at "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" Broadway opening night at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on January 12, 2012 in New York City
*If you had tickets to specifically see Audra McDonald in Broadway’s “The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess,” you’re out of luck – at least for the next two weeks.
While many don’t know of this great actresses’ accomplishments, we decided to educate you on Ms. McDonald and help her name get out in the spotlight more because it deserves to be so.
1. Place Of Birth
Audra was born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Fresno, California. She is the elder of two daughters and began studying acting at a young age to counteract her “hyperactive” disorder.
She is engaged to actor Will Swenson. She was married to bassist Peter Donovan and has one daughter.
3. 5-Time Tony Award Winner
Her four previous wins were in the featured role category for “Carousel,” “Master Class,” “Ragtime,” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” She won last night for her Best Actress victory as “Bess” in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”
4. Music Career
Throughout her career, McDonald has maintained ties to her classical training and repertoire. She frequently performs in concert throughout the US and has performed with musical organizations such as the New York Philharmonic and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Carnegie Hall commissioned the song cycle The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle for McDonald, and she performed it at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall on June 2, 2004.
The recording of the Los Angeles Opera production of Kurt Weill’s opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, featuring McDonald and Patti Lupone, won two Grammy Awards, for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album in February 2009.
5. NAACP Image Award
She has won 4 NAACP Image Awards all for her acting.