Acclaimed entertainer Audra McDonald will perform at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m., highlighting Season of Entertainment 33, a year-long lineup of entertainment sponsored by the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.
McDonald has been hailed by critics for her versatility and talent as an actress and a singer, talents which have earned her five Tony and two Grammy awards.
The New York Times called McDonald “a one-of-a-kind musical super-talent,” and The Boston Globe praised her as “one of the most consummate performers there is.”
A Juliard graduate, McDonald has appeared in numerous Broadway shows, including “A Raisin in the Sun” -- where she earned an Emmy nomination and co-starred alongside artist Sean Combs -- and “Twelfth Night.”
She has also forged a successful career in television, having starred as Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s hit drama “Private Practice.”
“She’s one of the most talented performers I’ve ever seen,” said Stacey Jones of Fort Smith, associate vice chancellor for campus and community events. “She is literally a super star in her field.”
McDonald has also released five solo albums, most recently “Go Back Home,” and has performed with numerous prominent orchestras, including the Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago Symphonies, as well as the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics.
In 2009, McDonald won Grammy awards for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album for her performance in the opera “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany.”
“We are ecstatic that she is coming, especially because she’s in such hot demand,” Jones said. “She was a featured singer at the Tony Awards this year and is currently hosting PBS’ ‘Live from the Lincoln Center’ program.”
The star has made appearances on The Colbert Report and The Rosie O’Donnell Show, in addition to co-hosting The View. She has been profiled by 60 Minutes and The Today Show, and is currently the host of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series “Live From Lincoln Center.”
Season of Entertainment 33 features theatrical productions, musicals, and a slew of jazz and choral concerts. Notable performances include the musicals “Memphis” and “Bring It On,” as well as the Theatre @ UAFS production of “Lend Me a Tenor.”
“To me, McDonald is what sets Season 33 apart from the other seasons,” Jones said. “She is such a dynamic entertainer.”
Tickets for the performance are $55 for first-tier seating and $52 for second-tier seating. For more information or to reserve tickets, call 479-788-7300 or visit https://uafs.universitytickets.com.