Back to the top

Audra McDonald Brings “warmth, professionalism” to the 74th Tony Awards

Led by host Audra McDonald, the 74th Tony Awards celebrated Broadway’s reopening with beloved performances and long-awaited reunions for theater’s biggest stars. In addition to serving as the evening’s emcee on Paramount+, McDonald reprised her role in the original cast of Ragtime for a performance of “Wheels of a Dream” with Brian Stokes Mitchell on the CBS special “Broadway’s Back!”

Vulture praised her hosting duties as a highlight of the night, stating:

“Audra McDonald entering as host, bringing with her the calming fact of being Audra. Whether it was because she’s on CBS’s The Good Fight or something else, Paramount+ made the superb choice of having Audra McDonald, beloved ultraprofessional, as emcee. She cares, she has authority, she knows everyone, she’s gracious and enthusiastic, and they’re definitely going to listen to her. She even makes thanking the accounting firm seem genuine.”

Audra McDonald to Host 2021 Tony Awards

Audra McDonald will host the 74th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, September 26, streaming exclusively on Paramount+ at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT. The event, honoring the shows from the 2019-20 season that were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will stream live from New York City’s Winter Garden theater. Immediately following, Leslie Odom Jr. will host the second part of the evening, The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back, airing on CBS from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.

Audra commented, “I’m elated that the Tony Awards are back! I am so glad that we’ve found a way to gather safely to honor and recognize all the incredible work that was done in the 2019-20 season. While we look back, my greatest hope is that this event marks the beginning of a new era for Broadway—one with renewed commitment to inclusivity and belonging as well as appreciation for the sacred experience of live theater.”

Click here to watch on Paramount+.

Audra McDonald sits in front of a multi-colored stone wall, wearing a black top and faintly smiling while looking toward the camera.

Audra McDonald to receive Étoile Award

Audra will be the first recipient of the Étoile Award, an honor granted annually to an international television actor or actress at the Series Mania Festival. Audra will accept her award on opening night on August 26 in Lille, France. Spectrum’s The Bite, in which she stars opposite Taylor Schilling, will also have its French premiere at the festival. Learn more, here.

2021 Theatre World Awards

For the first time in 75 years, the Theatre World Awards, which typically recognize debut performances, will bypass its annual ceremony and instead present a one-night-only virtual event honoring Broadway’s best. This year’s honorees are Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, and André De Shields. On July 11, LuPone and De Shields receive the 8th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement vent in the Theatre, while Audra will be honored with the Dorothy Loudon Special Award for Excellence in Theatre in recognition of her overall excellence and contribution to the field. All proceeds from this virtual event go towards presenting next year’s Awards, set for June 2022. The stream will be available to watch for free on on July 11 at 7pm ET.