Audra McDonald (1970–) is an American singer and actress best-known for her work on Broadway, having won an unprecedented six Tony Awards. Born into a musical family, with her aunts performing as a gospel group, the McDonald Sisters, it was natural for her to study singing and drama from an early age. She grew up in Fresno, California and studied at Juilliard. At 24, she won her first Tony Award for her role in Carousel, directed by Nick Hytner. In 1995, she won her second Tony Award for her role in the play Master Class, while Ragtime (1998) earned her a third Tony before the age of 30. She received a nomination for her performance in Marie Christine, her first starring role on Broadway, specially written for her by Michael John LaChiusa, and won her fourth Tony Award for her performance in Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play A Raisin in the Sun (2004), starring alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs. Her portrayal of Bess in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012), garnered her fifth Tony Award while it was her fine interpretation of jazz legend Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (2014) which earned her the sixth Tony Award, making her the first person to win in all four acting categories. That same year, she starred in Lynn Nottage’s short satirical play Poof! alongside Tonya Pinkins.
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