Last night, actress and opera singer Audra McDonald took home the Tony award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Bess in George Gershwin’s classic Porgy & Bess. The big win marks the fifth Tony Award for the 41-year old Broadway veteran. She is now tied with Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris as the third actress in history to hold five Tony Awards.
Upon accepting the award, McDonald said tearfully: "I was a little girl with a potbelly and afro puffs, hyperactive and overdramatic. And I found the theater, and I found my home."
In addition to her 11 Broadway credits (Porgy & Bess marks the 11th) including her 2004 Tony award-winning performance in A Raisin in the Sun, the actress also starred in the first four seasons of Shonda Rhimes’ hit television show Private Practice as Dr. Naomi Bennett, a role for which she received three NAACP Image Award nominations.
McDonald was born in Germany, raised in California and studied classical voice at The Juilliard School in New York City.