Audra McDonald returns to the big screen, where she stars as Aretha Franklin’s mother in the upcoming biopic Respect. The film, which is scheduled to hit theaters in August 2020, also features Jennifer Hudson as Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Forest Whitaker as Franklin’s father, and Mary J. Blige as fellow legend Dinah Washington. The award-winning cast will be directed by Tony Award nominee Liesl Tommy, and will feature many of the songs that catapulted Franklin to stardom including “Respect,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “Think.”
On August 19, Audra participated in Covenant House’s Sleep Out: Stage & Screen along with over 100 members of the Broadway and film communities. This is Audra’s sixth time sleeping outside on the streets of New York as an act of solidarity with the 4.2 million youths who experience homelessness each year. Audra, who has served on the Covenant House board since 2014, spent the evening participating in breakout sessions, a song circle, and other programs, getting to know young people whom Covenant House has helped. She was joined by her daughter Zoe—along with stars such as Rachel Brosnahan and Zachary Levi—for the second part of the event: a night spent sleeping on the street. The Sleep Out doubles as a fundraiser; in total, Monday night’s Sleep Out raised nearly $400,000 to combat youth homelessness.
Audra McDonald can now been seen in season 3 of The Good Fight on CBS All Access. Starring opposite Christine Baranski, Michael Boatman, Kush Jumbo, and Delroy Lindo, Audra plays lawyer Liz Lawrence who, alongside her colleagues, searches to find her voice in the resistance against the current administration.
Earlier this week, the women of the show—Baranski, Jumbo, McDonald, and co-creator Michelle King—appeared on the New York Times’ “TimesTalks” to share insights on the original drama series.
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Audra stopped by NBC’s TODAY Show to discuss the season three premiere of The Good Fight and her return to Broadway in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. She shared her excitement for the new season, which begins March 14, and the many political and social issues the show touches upon. Audra also talked about her upcoming Broadway show opposite Michael Shannon which opens May 4. Watch her interview below:
On March 4, Audra McDonald was honored by the Signature Theater with the 10th Stephen Sondheim Award for her achievements in music theatre works by the prolific composer and lyricist. The black-tie gala took place at the Embassy of Italy and featured tribute performances by Heidi Blickenstaff, Cynthia Erivo, Norm Lewis, Tracy Lynn Olivera, and Nova Y. Payton. The annual gala benefits the theater’s artistic, education, and community programs.