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What’s the Next Gig for Fresno’s Audra McDonald?



Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald (AP File/Evan Agostini/Invision/)
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NEW YORK — Audra McDonald is going from host of the Tony Awards to another stage role.

The six-time Tony-winner will return to Broadway in the play “Ohio State Murders” by Adrienne Kennedy, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon. Dates and the creative team will be announced later.

The play takes the form of a lecture given by the character Suzanne Alexander, a well-known African American writer who has accepted an invitation to return to her alma mater, Ohio State University, to talk about her work. It twists into a murder mystery that unfolds over the course of the lecture Alexander rehearses late at night deep in the stacks of the Ohio State University library.

Kennedy will make her Broadway debut with this production at age 90.

Originally commissioned by Great Lakes Theatre Festival in Cleveland, “Ohio State Murders” received its world premiere there in 1992 staring Ruby Dee, a year after a workshop production at the Yale Repertory Theatre.

McDonald’s Tony Awards

McDonald won a Tony in 2014 playing Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.”

She also won Tonys for “Carousel,” ”’Master Class,” ”’Ragtime,” ”‘A Raisin in the Sun,” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”

Audra McDonald Way in Downtown Fresno

In 2018, the city of Fresno renamed M Street between Inyo and Ventura “Audra McDonald Way” in honor of the Roosevelt High School graduate. The Saroyan Theatre, Valdez Hall, and Selland Arena line the block of Audra McDonald Way.

On television, McDonald portrayed Dr. Naomi Bennett in ABC’s “Private Practice” from 2007 to 2011. She also starred in the fourth season of “The Good Wife,” a role that she reprises as a main cast member in the spinoff “The Good Fight.”

Primetime Emmy Winner

She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program in 2015 for hosting “Live from Lincoln Center.”

Her movie roles include portraying Maureen in “Ricki and the Flash” opposite Meryl Streep. She also portrayed Madame de Garderobe in Disney’s 2017 film musical “Beauty and the Beast.”

She has been nominated five times for the NAACP Image Awards for her work in television and film.

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