Five years ago, you may not have known too much about Audra McDonald if you weren’t a theatre aficionado. You might’ve seen her in a TV or film role here or there, but you may not have known her name then. By now, McDonald’s well known to many, and thank goodness for that. Though she’s most recognizable to the mainstream through her work on the Shonda Rhimes-helmed Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice, I really wish everyone knew her for being a three-time Tony winner by the age of 28 (In total, she has seven nominations and four wins.) or her heart-stopping, gut-wrenching singing voice or for any of her four albums.
She’s also got great comedic timing, as is evidenced in this clip from The Colbert Report, where she performs the classic, “Summertime,” from her role in the current Broadway revival of Porgy & Bess (which has earned her that seventh Tony nod this year). Note her deadpan adlib and the crowd’s response around the 1:37 mark:
Do you have a favorite Audra McDonald moment? Have you seen her perform live? Who’s your favorite Broadway actress?