Photo – Autumn de Wilde
Melbourne (and soon Sydney) audiences are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to see and experience yet another Broadway legend at the peak of their career – this time the amazingly talented Audra McDonald.
While well known to Broadway audiences with stage credits that include Ragtime, Porgy and Bess, and most recently for playing Billie Holiday – a performance which earned her a record-breaking sixth Tony Award, McDonald is probably better known Down Under for her lead role in television's Private Practice, a spin-off from Grey's Anatomy.
The audience at Hamer Hall however, seemed to appreciate just where McDonald's Leading Lady status was at, sending out rapturous applause even before she stepped out on stage.
For the next 105 minutes McDonald wooed the crowd with a magical mix of show tunes and Great American Songbook classics, effortlessly linked with personal stories and chat that had Melbourne's usually conservative crowd firing back comments and even loudly singing along, by request of course.
Not one to perform too many popular standards, as was pointed out, McDonald covered classics (Irving Berlin, Sondheim, My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun) to more recent works (Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World and even our own Kate Miller-Heidke). McDonald made a point of explaining the importance of supporting new writers and composers.
Highlights (and there were many) included a beautiful interpretation of Maybe This Time (from Cabaret), Summertime (minus microphone), the haunting Go Back Home from Kander and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys and a moving tribute to Judy Garland and marriage equality with Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
With a strong, rich Soprano voice and accompanied by a trio of musicians, the stylish, articulate Audra McDonald gave her devoted fans an evening to remember.
Arts Centre Melbourne presents
An Evening with Audra McDonald
Venue: Hamer Hall
Date: 31 October 2015
Tickets: from $48