There's a whole lot of Audra going around lately. The season began with singer-actress McDonald taking the lead role in Lincoln Center Theater's Marie Christine. Following the close of that show, she began a two week stint in the Off-Broadway production of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. With Feb. 29, comes the release of her latest album -- a CD she will back up with a U.S. Tour.
Now comes word of "Audra McDonald at the Donmar, London," a television special which will be aired on various PBS stations across the country during March. McDonald performed in London last August as part of the "Divas at the Donmar" series.
The show will be aired in the following cities:
• San Diego, KPBS, March 2
• Detroit, WTVS, March 5
• San Diego, KPBS, March 5
• New York, WNET, March 7
• Hartford, WEDH, March 7
• Washington, DC, WETA March 8
• Phoenix, KAET, March 10
• Los Angeles, KCET, March 13
• Fresno, KVPT, March 13, 15 and 16
• Boston, WGBH, March 20
* The new album is a collection of new theatre songs and old standards. The mixture is a marked departure from her debut recording, "Way Back to Paradise," which was entirely given over to young, rising composers such as Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel, and Jason Robert Brown.
Guettel is the only one of those tunesmiths to make a return appearance on the new CD. He penned the title tune, "How Glory Goes" (from Floyd Collins) and co-wrote "Was That You?" Also on the CD will be "Lay Down Your Head," a selection from the musical Violet by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley, two other representatives of the so-called "new theatre music."
For much of the album, however, McDonald tries her hand at some of the classic musical composers. Harold Arlen is particularly well represented. McDonald sings Arlen's "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" and "I Had Myself a True Love," both from St. Louis Woman; "I Never Has Seen Snow" and "A Sleepin' Bee," both from House of Flowers; and "The Man That Got Away" from the Judy Garland film version of "A Star Is Born."
Reportedly, McDonald has spotlighted Arlen in recent concerts, commenting that, though she doesn't normally care for singing standards, she makes an exception for the composer.
Fans who wish to hear the rising singer and actress in person may be in luck: McDonald will tour in support of the album, beginning March 4. The tour will start in Columbus and run through May 14. Stops include a stint with the Atlanta Symphony, in which McDonald will sing Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, and a turn in the New York Philharmonic concert production of Sweeney Todd, May 1-7.
The tour runs as follows:
• March 4: Columbus, OH, Palace Theater
• March 5: Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan
• March 11: Irvine, CA, University of California
• March 12: Fresno, CA, Saroyan Theater
• March 18: Princeton, NJ, McCarter Theater
• March 19: Newark, NJ, NJPAC
• April 25-29: Atlanta, Atlanta Symphony, Seven Deadly Sins
• May 1-7: New York City, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, Sweeney Todd
• May 12: Boston, Harvard University, Sanders Theater
• May 14: Washington, DC, Kennedy Center
--By Robert Simonson