AUDRA McDONALD Four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald deservedly added a fifth award to her mantel June 10 for her breathtaking performance in the Tony-winning revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. The acclaimed singing actress, who also won Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Drama Desk awards for her work as the ill-fated Bess, had already nabbed Broadway's highest honor for her standout performances in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime and A Raisin in the Sun; however, her latest acknowledgment was her first in the category of Best Leading Actress in a Musical. McDonald's dramatic take on the drug-addicted Bess was often gut-wrenching, and her soaring duet with co-star Norm Lewis on the Gershwin classic "I Loves You, Porgy" was one of the season's most memorable moments.
LINDSAY MENDEZ In the revival of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell, Lindsay Mendez impressed with her rangy alto, but in the Off-Broadway musical Dogfight — featuring a score by A Christmas Story's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — the young artist had the chance to display her range as an actress. Mendez poured herself into the role of Rose, a waitress and aspiring songwriter who is the victim of a mean-spirited game spearheaded by a group of young marines who have 24 hours before heading to Vietnam. Mendez brought great humanity to Rose, and one couldn't help empathize with her character's longing for a relationship. Mendez was funny, charming, touching and admirable as the socially-conscious Rose and also scored in all of the musical moments.