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Audra McDonald Brings The American Songbook To San Diego

Audra McDonald in an undated photo.

Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein

Above: Audra McDonald in an undated photo.

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Audra McDonald is one of the most celebrated performers in Broadway history. She has earned six Tony Awards, more than any other performer. So theater fans should be in for a treat Thursday night as McDonald performs with members of the San Diego Symphony.

"The main theme for all of it is always music from the 'Great American Musical Theater Songbook,'" she said. "But that can be anything from songs written way, way, way, way, way back, Rogers and Hammerstein and every before that, to songs by new, young musical theater composers."

McDonald is known now as someone as comfortable in an opera house as she is in a cabaret. But she struggled when her teachers at the prestigious New York performing arts school Juilliard tried to push her from concentrating on musical theater to opera.

"It was a struggle to let my voice go to this place that I didn’t think was the right sound for musical theater," she said. "What I’ve since learned is that going in that direction help me find all of that which is my sound: not operatic, not musical theater, but Audra sound."

McDonald joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on her stop in San Diego.

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