The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Congratulations to Audra McDonald for Her Sixth Tony Award Win

Former Choir guest artist and veteran Broadway star Audra McDonald has done what no one has done before: she won her record-breaking sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She received a standing ovation as she accepted the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. The record for most wins was previously shared by Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury, who each had five Tony Awards. Lansbury was also a former guest artist of the Choir.

McDonald was raised in Fresno, California, and received her classical vocal training at the Juilliard School. She won her first Tony Award for her performance in Carousel, just one year after graduation. Her other Tony Awards were for her performances inRagtimeMaster ClassA Raisin in the Sun, and Porgy and Bess. For the role of Billie Holiday, McDonald recently said in an interview that she channeled her grandmother’s voice, which is similar to Holiday’s. After a year and a half, she was able to capture the style of Billie Holiday, thanks in part to listening to Holiday's music in her headphones while going to sleep.

Recently, McDonald appeared in NBC’s live telecast of The Sound of Music opposite Carrie Underwood, where an estimated 18.5 million people viewed her critically acclaimed performance as the Mother Abbess.

McDonald joined the Mormon Tabernacle and Orchestra at Temple Square for the 2004 Christmas Concert in Salt Lake City, Utah, performing songs such as “We Need a Little Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” and “I Wonder as I Wander.” For more info on McDonald visit her guest artist page.

Below is a video of McDonald singing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from NBC's live telecast of The Sound of Music

Photo from the 2004 Christmas concert featuring Audra McDonald, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.