Audra Ann McDonald is a Tony Award-winning American actress and singer, born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Fresno, California. She studied classical voice as an undergraduate at the Juilliard School of Music, graduating in 1993. She also starred in the ABC television drama Private Practice as Dr. Naomi Bennett before resigning from the show in 2011.
McDonald became a three-time Tony Award winner by the age of 28 — for her performances in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime. She won her fourth in 2004 for her role in A Raisin in the Sun.
McDonald has recorded four solo albums for Nonesuch Records. Her first, the 1998 Way Back to Paradise, featured songs written by a new generation of musical theatre composers who had achieved varying degrees of prominence in the 1990s, particularly Michael John LaChiusa, Adam Guettel and Jason Robert Brown. Her subsequent albums, How Glory Goes and Happy Songs, have featured more traditional theater and cabaret songs along with some songs by these new composers. Her fourth album, Build a Bridge, features songs from the jazz/pop canon, from composers as diverse as Laura Nyro, Elvis Costello, Nellie McKay, Neil Young, Rufus Wainwright, John Mayer and Randy Newman. .