Audra McDonald to Host Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD Broadcast of Porgy and Bess | Playbill

Classic Arts News Audra McDonald to Host Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD Broadcast of Porgy and Bess The Broadway favorite won her fifth of six Tony Awards for playing Bess on Broadway.
Audra McDonald Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Audra McDonald, who won her fifth of six Tony Awards for playing Bess in the 2012 revival of Porgy and Bess, will return to the piece in a new capacity. The Broadway mainstay will host the Metropolitan Opera's upcoming Live in HD presentation of its new production of the American opera.

As previously announced, the February 1 matinee will be broadcast live in movie theatres around the world as part of the Met's ongoing series. The filmed version will also air on PBS in July to conclude the 14th season of Great Performances at the Met. McDonald will introduce the presentation and speak with performers and artists throughout the performance.

Eric Owens and Angel Blue in Porgy and Bess Ken Howard

James Robinson's production, which opened the Met's 2019–2020 season, marks the first time the New York City house has presented the Gershwin and Heyward opera in 30 years. After consistently playing to full capacity in the fall, the production added three February performances to its run (a first in the company's modern history).

Eric Owens and Angel Blue star in the title roles, along with Golda Schultz as Clara, Latonia Moore as Serena, Denyce Graves as Maria, Frederick Ballentine as Sportin' Life, Alfred Walker as Crown, and Donovan Singletary as Jake. David Robertson conducts.

The staging also features the work of a handful of Broadway regulars, with costumes by Tony winner Catherine Zuber, sets by Tony winner Michael Yeargan, lighting design by Tony winner Donald Holder, and choreography by Tony nominee Camille A. Brown.

In addition to The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, McDonald earned Tonys for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, A Raisin in the Sun, Ragtime, Master Class, and Carousel. She last appeared on Broadway in a revival of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. On screen, she can be seen on CBS All Access' The Good Fight, as well as the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect.

Though she studied classical voice at Juilliard, McDonald made the decision to pursue musical theatre early in her career. She has since returned to the opera world sporadically, including in Michael John LaChiusa's Send with Houston Grand Opera and Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with Los Angeles Opera.

Production Photos: Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera

McDonald will be a special guest performer on one of Playbill Travel’s upcoming Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Cabins are now on sale for Broadway in the Great Northwest, Playbill Travel’s first domestic cruise featuring Kate Baldwin, Tedd Firth, Aaron Lazar, and Beth Leavel (April 26–May 4, 2020), and for Broadway on the Mediterranean (August 31–September 7, 2020), featuring McDonald, Will Swenson, Gavin Creel, Caissie Levy, and Lindsay Mendez, and for Broadway on the Nile (December 27, 2020–January 7, 2021) and Broadway on the Caribbean (February 15–22, 2021), with performers soon to be announced. To book a suite or stateroom, call Playbill Travel at 866-455-6789 or visit


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