Four-time Tony Award-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald has been nominated for a 2012 Tony Award in the category of “Best Leading Actress in a Musical” for her role as Bess in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Describing her performance as “a major work of musical portraiture,” and citing the soprano’s “God-touched voice,” the New York Times wrote: “For devastating impact, it’s hard to imagine any hurricane matching the tempest that is the extraordinary Audra McDonald’s Bess.” The production – directed by Diane Paulus, co-starring Norm Lewis as Porgy and David Alan Grier as Sporting Life, and currently running at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, has also been nominated for “Best Revival of a Musical,” “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical” (Norm Lewis), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical” (Phillip Boykin and David Alan Grier), “Best Costume Design of a Musical” (ESosa), “Best Lighting Design of a Musical” (Christopher Akerlind), “Best Sound Design of a Musical” (Acme Sound Partners), “Best Direction of a Musical” (Diane Paulus), and “Best Orchestrations” (William David Brohn and Christopher Janke). The other 2012 nominees in the category of “Best Leading Actress in a Musical” are Jan Maxwell (Follies), Cristin Milioti (Once), Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work If You Can Get It), and Laura Osnes (Bonnie & Clyde).
Also a two-time Grammy Award-winner, Audra McDonald began her Broadway career in 1992, as a replacement in The Secret Garden, while still studying at Juilliard. A year after graduating, she won her first Tony Award for “Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical” for Carousel at Lincoln Center Theater. Over the next four years, she received two additional Tony Awards in the “Featured Actress” category, for her performances in the Broadway premieres of the play Master Class (1996) and the musical Ragtime (1998), amassing an unprecedented three Tony Awards before turning 30. In 2004 she won her fourth Tony, starring alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs in A Raisin in the Sun. Today’s nod by the American Theater Wing and the Broadway League represents her seventh to date.
Thus far this awards season, Audra McDonald has also received nominations from the Outer Critics Circle (“Outstanding Actress in a Musical”), Drama League (“Distinguished Performance Award”), and Drama Desk (“Outstanding Actress in a Musical”). The 66th Annual Tony Awards take place at the Beacon Theatre on June 10, 8pm EDT, in a three-hour ceremony that will be broadcast live on CBS. A complete list of 2012 nominations is available at TonyAwards.com.