Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tony Winner Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald - How Glory Goes

I have no shame in announcing out loud that I am a big fan of Audra McDonald. So when she took home the Tony Award last night for Best Lead Actress In A Musical for her portrayal of Bess in The Gershwin's Porgy And Bess. This is her fifth Tony Award, an amazing feat for any performer. In fact, that ties her with Broadway legends Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris for trophies won. In 2000, McDonald released a lovely album, How Glory Goes. It is an interesting collection of songs from classic older musicals, as well some unknown shows, and some a bit more recent. They allow Audra to showcase a magnificent vocal instrument. First, give a listen as she sings "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home," a great song written by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer, from the 1946 musical, St. Louis Woman.



Now, I just think "A Sleepin' Bee" is a ridiculously beautiful song. That should come as a surprise to no one, as it was written by the great Harold Arlen and Truman Capote. It is from the score of the only musical Capote was involved with, House of Flowers, first produced in 1954.



The next song was written for a Broadway show, but for a movie. "The Man That Got Away" was written for Judy Garland by Harold Arlen & Ira Gershwin, in the great movie A Star Is Born released in 1954. The song became so iconic as performed by Garland, many shied away from it. Thank goodness Audra doesn't.



The final track on the album is another beautiful song. "Lay Down Your Head" was written by Jeanine Tesori & Brian Crawley for the 1997 show, Violet. I can honestly admit I know nothing about the show, but think this song is just so damned lovely.



McDonald has also been a big supporter of marriage equality for the LGBT community, and for civil rights in general. She shares those feelings with her fiancee, Will Swenson, who is currently wowing the audiences of Priscilla, Queen Of the Dessert. He also starred as Berger in the recent revival of Hair. You can follow Audra on Twitter and Facebook. Among the many places you can purchase How Glory Goes, visit iTunes or Amazon.

Audra McDonald & Will Swenson

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