By Beth Ann Downey
Though the famous song "Getting to Know You" may not come up during singer/actress Audra McDonald's performance of her favorite show tunes next week at Penn State, it's certainly something she hopes the audience will do anyway.
Audra McDonald will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park.
"I think for an audience, it's a way to kind of get to know a performer on a more intimate basis," McDonald said of concert performances. "There's not a script. I'm not saying things that were written for me. I'm just talking. I'm talking about my day. I'm talking about what I ate. I'm talking about what I think. You know, it's just a chance to get to know an artist in a more intimate way."
McDonald, an Emmy and Tony winner most recently known for her portrayal of Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC's "Private Practice," will share her soprano at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at Eisen-hower Auditorium, University Park.
It shouldn't be too hard to get to know McDonald - her face is everywhere. The first accolade to McDonald's name came when she won a Tony Award for her role in the musical "Carousel" just a year after her graduation from The Julliard School. Since then, she has won three more Tonys, appeared on opera and concert stages around the world, made several network television appearances and became a mother.
If you go
What: Audra McDonald live in concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29
Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park
Details: Tickets are $55 for an adult, $22 for a University Park student and $39 for a person 18 and younger. Available online at www.cpa.psu.edu/events or by phone at 863-0255.
"I really enjoy challenging myself," McDonald said. "I think that's why I'm always doing so many different things. I like to challenge myself by working on different parts of my craft, whether it be singing or acting or whether that be onstage or in front of a camera. So, for me, I enjoy the challenge of trying to grow as an artist."
If fans only know her from TV, McDonald said they might be surprised by the fact that she can sing. And if they see her in a concert setting, McDonald added her fans will find that she's nothing like the character she's played on TV for the past four years.
"If that's the only exposure they have to me, maybe they'll be surprised to find that my personality is not Naomi's personality at all. It's a role I played," McDonald said of her former role on "Private Practice," which she left in February. "[People] who only know me as Naomi probably think that I'm uptight, depressed and angry. In real life, I'm not. I'm not like that at all."
After her concert tour, McDonald will return to Broadway for the first time since 2007 in her role as the title character in a new musical adaptation of the Gershwins' folk opera, "Porgy and Bess."
Laura Sullivan, director of marketing for the Center for the Perform-ing Arts at Penn State, said she's glad McDonald was able to bring her vocal talent to our area post-"Private Practice" and before taking on the Broadway role.
"She is expressive and throws herself into the music," Sullivan said. "You can tell those acting skills come out at the same time. It's really an incredible concert experience, versus what you'd see on a scripted television program. She's really completely herself."
Sullivan added that the blend of Broadway tunes and original pieces written specifically for McDonald will make a "really nice blend." McDonald said there's no specific formula by which she chose her material for this tour, but that it's simply the songs or work of the composers that she loves to sing.
"It's just whatever strikes my fancy," she said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.