Since then she's gone soprano-to-soprano with Zoe Caldwell's Maria Callas in Master Class, originated roles in the musicals Ragtime and Marie Christine, and brought new life to classics like 110 in the Shade and A Raisin in the Sun.
McDonald returns to Broadway this season as one half of the aching lovers in the classic American opera Porgy and Bess. She co-stars with Norm Lewis in the newly revised production that began previews Dec. 17 and will officially open Jan. 12, 2012, at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
Playbill has collected a handful of our favorite Audra moments from roles she's performed and her numerous concert appearances.
"Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime. Audra joins her Tony-winning costar Brian Stokes Mitchell on the "Rosie "O'Donnell Show."
"I Won't Mind," Jeff Blumenkrantz's poignant and perfect song.
Recreating the Judy Garland/Barbra Streisand "Get Happy/Happy Days..." duet with Tony winner Patti LuPone on "Rosie."
A Boston Pops performance captures her Tony-winning interpretation of "Mr. Snow" from Carousel.
Do songs get any better than this Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg gem? "Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe."
One of Jason Robert Brown's best: "Stars and the Moon."
We won't get to hear her perform "My Man's Gone Now" in Porgy and Bess, but she makes it her own in this clip.