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Audra McDonald Makes Tony History 20 Years After Her First Win. Watch All 6 of Her Acceptance Speeches

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by Tambay A. Obenson
June 9, 2014 10:29 AM
8 Comments
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From "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill" (2014)

Audra McDonald made double history last night at the 2014 Tony Awards celebration, when she took home her 6th Tony Award win for her performance as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill" - 1.) She has become the first person to win in all four performance categories; and 2.) She has also broken the record for the most Tony Awards won by any performer. 

McDonald beats a record she previously held with fellow winners Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris. 

This is an enormous feat and a pretty big deal folks - something we should all take note of, and celebrate! Keep in mind that she did this in a relatively short period of time. She's not exactly an aging actress, who's had en entire lifetime on Broadway to accumulate this volume in accolades. She's just 43 years old, with her history-making 6-win Tony streak beginning in 1994, just 20 years ago, when she won the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical - "Carousel." I suppose it's only fitting that she make history on the 20th anniversary of her very first win!

Also worth noting is that she's been nominated for a Tony award 8 times since 1994, and has now won 6 of the 8. Again, an incredible feat. For a little perspective, imagine an actress/actor being nominated for an Academy Award 8 times in 20 years, and winning 6 of those 8 times.

McDonald previously won Tony Awards for "Porgy and Bess," "A Raisin in the Sun," "Ragtime," "Master Class" and the aforementioned "Carousel." 

Congratulations, Ms. McDonald! 

To celebrate, watch all 6 of her Tony award acceptance speeches embedded below, from the first, to the most recent.

I should also mention that, last night was a good night overall for black nominees. "After Midnight" won the Tony for Best Choreography; "A Raisin in the Sun" won for Best Revival of a Play; Sophie Okonedo won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (her Broadway debut, and also her first Tony win); Kenny Leon won for Best Direction of a Play (his first Tony win); and James Monroe Iglehart ("Alladin") picked up the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (also his first win).

Watch all 6 Audra McDonald acceptance speeches below, starting with her 1994 Tony Award win for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, for "Carousel" -


1996 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play "Master Class" - 


1998 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical "Ragtime" -


2004 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play "A Raisin in the Sun" -


2012 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical "Porgy and Bess" -


2014 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" -

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8 Comments

  • Eddie Goines | June 10, 2014 6:42 PMReply

    Great, great stuff. Audra McDonald has very inspirational. Shout to Sophie and Kenny as well. Thanks S & A

  • Ojie | June 10, 2014 10:13 AMReply

    Amazing. Just amazing. It just sucks that I am unable to see the actual performance, but huge achievement for her.

  • Ava | June 9, 2014 8:26 PMReply

    I was glad to see Audra McDonald, Kenny Leon, Sophie Okonedo and James Monroe Iglehart (who I must admit, I'm not very familiar with Iglehart) and the grace and genuine feeling they presented in their acceptance speeches.
    I hope the recognition show to these actors and director will someday soon extend to Black and female playwrights.

  • RANDOM COMMENTARY | June 9, 2014 6:53 PMReply

    Two enthusiastic thumbs up. To quote Siskel and Ebert.

  • Ashley | June 9, 2014 6:34 PMReply

    She's such an extraordinary talent. It has been a pleasure--as a fan--to see her grow over the years. She's still young so I see even more Tonys in her future.

  • Donella | June 9, 2014 4:02 PMReply

    This IS amazing. And well-deserved.

  • Segolene | June 9, 2014 2:18 PMReply

    She is a true genius. Glad she is recognized in her lifetime.

  • Nichola | June 9, 2014 11:29 AMReply

    Congratulations Audra, Well deserved

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