UH Madison Artist Series kicks off with Broadway legend
by Bradley Donalson
Audra McDonald, star of stage and screen, comes to Houston tonight as the inaugural performer in the University of Houston Madison Artist series. As part of the series, McDonald conducts a private master class at the Moores Opera House as well as performing for the public March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Wortham Center/Cullen Theater.
McDonald has been a presence on Broadway since she won her first Tony in 1994 for her performance in Carousel. This was the start of what would become an award-laden career—going on to win five more Tonys and becoming the actress who holds the most Tony awards for performance and the only person to win in four different acting categories. McDonald has also performed on concert stages, films, and television (including NBC’s live Sound of Music and Grey’s Anatomy-spinoff Private Practice). Her operatic performance in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with Patti LuPone and the Los Angeles Opera led to her two Grammy wins (Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album).
In addition to her work as an artist, McDonald is also a champion for the issues dear to her. Her website (address below) features a page dedicated to her causes. McDonald supports the NOH8 campaign, Freedom to Marry, PFLAG, and she currently sits on the advisory board for Broadway Impact—the only organization to mobilize the nationwide theater community in support of marriage equality.
This isn’t McDonald’s first time to come to Houston; she made her operatic debut with a double bill at the Houston Grand Opera in 2006. She performed the two solo, one-act operas: La voix humaine (Poulenc) and Send (LaChiusa). She also performed a concert with Andy Einhorn at the Brown Theater back in 2013.
The University of Houston is proud to welcome McDonald back to Space City. “We’re thrilled to be able to kick off our new Madison Artist Series with the great Audra McDonald,” says Andrew Davis, director of the Moores School of Music. “The Madison Series will educate and inspire our students by allowing them opportunities to train and network with the finest artists of our generation, while at the same time the series will contribute significantly to the cultural life of the city of Houston.” The series, named for arts patron and UH alum/regent Beth Madison, will present three guest performers over the next three academic years. McDonald kicks it off tonight; opera great Bryn Terfel will continue in April 2016; and concert pianist Lang Lang will wrap it up in September 2016.
The Moores School of Music is one of the premiere music schools in America serving approximately 600 students annually in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Moores boasts ensembles like the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Moores Opera Center, Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s and Men’s Choruses, the Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble.
What: Audra McDonald
When: March 10, 7 p.m.
Where: Wortham Center/Cullen Theater
Details: Tickets are still available. Ticket information and additional performance details for McDonald’s March 10 performance can be found online at http://tickets.houstonfirsttheaters.com/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=1198 or by calling 832.487.7041. For more information on Audra McDonald, visit http://audramcdonald.net/. For more information on the Moores School of Music, visit http://www.uh.edu/class/music/.