"I used to practice Tony speeches in my bathroom with my hairbrush," McDonald tells interviewer Mo Rocca in the upcoming segment. “I wish I could make that up.”
The practice evidently paid off. McDonald has won five of the coveted awards and was nominated again this year for her portrayal of the pioneering jazz singer. McDonald says she spent a year-and-a-half researching the life of Billie Holiday before tackling the one-woman production at Circle in the Square.
“But eight months ago, once I discovered all of these recordings of her rehearsals of her speaking, where she’s been drinking and she’s just with her band or her close friends and she really lets loose, her speaking voice is very similar to my grandmother’s,” McDonald says. “I thought, ‘Oh, she sounds like Nana when she speaks. Maybe that’s my way in.’ And through that, I ended up finding her singing voice.”
McDonald and Rocca also visit 133rd Street in Harlem, where Ms. Holiday was discovered in the early 1930s. McDonald recalls an interview where Holiday told "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace that what she wanted most was a beautiful home, a family and control over her own life.
“And all of those sort of domestic things that she craved and wanted desperately, I’m fortunate to have,” McDonald tells Rocca. “I’m the luckiest person I know.”
Rand Morrison is the executive producer of "CBS Sunday Morning."