TONY AND GRAMMY-AWARD WINNER AUDRA McDONALD IS NAMED NEW HOST OF LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER
December Programs Include “The Richard Tucker Opera Gala” and “One Singular Sensation: Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch” With The New York Philharmonic
FOR RELEASE November 27, 2012 — Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts today announced that Audra McDonald has signed on as the official host of the landmark PBS series Live From Lincoln Center. The acclaimed singer/actress, winner of five Tony Awards and two Grammys, will host seven broadcasts from December 2012 through Spring 2013 including“The Richard Tucker Opera Gala” on Thursday, December 13 and the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve Gala, “One Singular Sensation: Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch,” on Monday, December 31. She will also perform in the New Year’s Eve live telecast. (Check local listings.)
McDonald said, “I grew up watching Live From Lincoln Center and Beverly Sills, the great soprano who used to regularly host the series, was such an inspiration to me. Ever since I moved to New York to attend The Juilliard School, I’ve spent so much of my life at Lincoln Center that I consider it my home away from home. Needless to say, I was incredibly honored when Live From Lincoln Center invited me to become the host for this season.”
“Audra’s Lincoln Center roots run deep and wide,” said Elizabeth Scott, Chief Media and Digital Officer for Lincoln Center, and executive in charge of the series. “She’s performed on every major Lincoln Center stage, and her appearances on Live From Lincoln Center are among the most enduring presentations in the series’ 37-year history. We’re thrilled that this consummate artist–whose passion for the performing arts is infectious–will be the new face of Live From Lincoln Center. We can’t imagine a more perfect match.”
McDonald made her Broadway debut in The Secret Garden while still a classical voice student at The Juilliard School. Before long, she earned her first of five Tony Awards for her role in Lincoln Center Theater’s 1994 production of Carousel. And while her career quickly skyrocketed from Broadway, concert halls, and recording studios to film and television, she has maintained a steady relationship with Lincoln Center.
Thanks to Live From Lincoln Center, viewers across the country have experienced McDonald’s stellar performances in “Stephen Sondheim’s Passion” with Patti Lupone; “Audra McDonald and Friends: Build a Bridge” with Elvis Costello and Rufus Wainwright; and “Audra McDonald Sings the Movies” with the New York Philharmonic. Most recently, she hosted “The Philharmonic Opening Night Gala with Itzhak Perlman.” Upcoming programs will be announced shortly.
After starring in ABC’s Private Practice from 2007-2011, McDonald–who was described by The New York Times as “a one-of-a-kind musical supertalent”–returned to Broadway and won the Tony Award for Best Actress for her role in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. With this honor, she became the youngest actor, and first African American, to earn five Tonys, joining Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury as the only performers in Tony history to win five awards. McDonald, who was born into a musical family and grew up in Fresno, California, is an ardent proponent of marriage equality; she has been featured in campaigns for Freedom to Marry, NOH8, and PFLAG NYC.
Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: wife to her husband, actor Will Swenson; stepmother to his sons, Bridger and Sawyer; and mother to her daughter, Zoe Madeline.
Live From Lincoln Center is in its 37th broadcast season. The series has received 13 Emmy Awards to date. Live From Lincoln Center has made the world’s greatest artists on Lincoln Center’s renowned stages accessible to home viewers in virtually every corner of the United States. Lincoln Center’s Chief Media and Digital Officer, Elizabeth W. Scott, is executive in charge of the series. Andrew C. Wilk is executive producer for this season’s programs.
Live From Lincoln Center is made possible by a major grant from MetLife.
In addition to underwriting from MetLife, the series is also made possible with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson 1962 Charitable Trust, Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tenenbaum, The Robert and Renée Belfer Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.