One Question with Audra McDonald
A quick catch-up with the legend of stage and screen
The actress and host of the 74th annual Tony Awards Ceremony — which makes her and me some kind of distant, cosmic siblings in the annals of Broadway lore — the charming and talented Audra McDonald shares a quick tale from the trenches of the biggest night in American theatre.
NPH: Audra, you just masterfully hosted the Tony Awards ceremony. A strange year for live theatre, to be certain. I was going to ask you why you wanted to host, but figured you’d just profess your love for the stage and the necessity of reviving this weakened industry — a truthful and noble answer, but also expected. So instead I’ll ask you about the broadcast itself: What randomness happened on or offstage that you, accomplished thespian Audra MacDonald, weren’t expecting (e.g., technical glitch, wardrobe malfunction, fistfight)?
AM: So I had a quick-change booth off stage left, since I had to keep entering and exiting for intros all night. After introducing a pair of celebs, I walked off stage to said booth, where I discovered an enormous horsefly. It was one of those really big, heavy flies. It kept kinda dive-bombing me and my hair-and-makeup team. So I grabbed my enormous script for the Tonys and spent the entire commercial break trying to kill it. Eventually we thought if we just turned off the light in the quick-change booth it would go somewhere else, but then I realized it would head for the next light source — the stage — and then we would have a Vice Presidential debate local-fly-makes-good moment while someone was trying to accept a Tony award. So I dug deep, did my best Ado Annie shot (with the script) and squashed all of its dreams of starring in a one-fly show at the Winter Garden. I then ran back on stage to introduce the next segment, a little sweaty and breathless but confident I had saved the day.
NPH: Brilliant. And one quick follow-up: What would you do if your pet suddenly started talking?
AM: If Butler (our tail-wagging doggy) suddenly started talking, we would give him an iPhone so he could text us his list of complaints about the amount of treats he receives on a daily basis.
Suggested for you