The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

51° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Audra McDonald Wows Crowd

    The four Tony Award winning singer/actress Audra McDonald certainly is a busy bee. Just four days after the release of her latest album Build a Bridge, Audra has been touring the country. She greeted the Stony Brook audience with a big smile, an endearing Long Island accent, and a gracious anecdote about being happy to be in a part of America where people actually know who she is. After being in her company for an hour and a half not knowing who she was or at least not remembering her seemed impossible.

    In her Staller debut on Saturday, September 30th Audra performed a wide vocal repertoire accompanied by pianist Ted Sperling, guitarist Kevin Kuhn, bassist (and husband) Peter Donovan, ad percussionist Gene Lewin. This jazz quartet really enhanced the performance and showed great range by playing show tunes, folksongs, and even lullabies as well as jazz pieces. Furthermore, Audra’s reoccurring interaction with her band added a touch of intimacy to the performance, and the audience could really sense the connection between Audra’s singing and the instruments.

    Besides the quality of the band, there were many other elements that made this concert worth skipping a Saturday night party. From the second she stepped on stage, Ms. McDonald had a gorgeous glow and an encouragingly inviting smile. Although her claim to fame is Broadway, she is not your typical ing’eacute;nue (even though she can sing most of them out of the water). She even admitted after her first song ‘When Lola Sings’ that she has ‘wide hips’; she also has big, beautiful curls and a wide bright face that lights up with personality. In addition to her warmth with the audience, Audra is one of the funniest Broadway singers out there. She constantly peppered her act with jokes from the road, the stage, her family, and her childhood. She would even stop during songs to add statements here and there, adding a level of unexpected but welcomed humor. By the end of Audra’s show, it was easy to feel like you had gotten lucky made friends with one of the best singers in the world.

    Audra’s songs ranged from Broadway hits such as ‘I Could Have Danced all Night’ (in which she sweetly invited the audience to sing along) and ‘Stars and the Moon’ (in which she sweetly uninvited the audience to sing along) to jazz songs like ‘When Lola Sings’ and ‘I Double Dare You’. The best moments however, were her more personal picks like ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’, which seemed to have undertones of race and identity, and her unplugged version of ‘Edelweiss’. Her voice is absolutely flawless but still original and although she didn’t dance, she moved to the music with her hand gestures and vivid facial expressions.

    This concert was impossible not to enjoy. There were moments of laughter, tears, excitement, and joy between the performers and the audience. The song selection was nicely personalized and varied to appeal to a broad group. And Audra’s voice was so good that by the end of the concert, you’d have wanted to be a singer too. If the best art is the art that inspires other, Audra certainly accomplished that here at Stony Brook.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *