Taye Diggs, Vanessa Williams, and Audra McDonald “Red Hot” at Alzheimer’s Benefit

Black star power comes together to fight Alzheimer's.

Posted: 03/18/2011 03:39 AM EDT

They may be best known for their steamy TV dramas, but Audra McDonald, Taye Diggs and Vanessa Williams brought some musical heat to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 19th Annual “A Night at Sardi’s” benefit, performing Cole Porter songs from the revue Red, Hot and Cole.

McDonald, elegant in a black Sue Wong gown, showed off her stunning soprano voice on “So in Love” from Kiss Me Kate and “I Happen to Like New York” from The New Yorkers, and her Private Practice co-star Taye Diggs was all smoothness and cool on “It’s All Right With Me” from Can-Can. Williams, in a sexy bronze sequined mini-dress, did a sizzling rendition of “Too Darn Hot” from Kiss Me Kate, accompanied by pro dancers Maks Chmerkovskiy and Cheryl Burke from Dancing With the Stars.

“I have a family member that’s afflicted by this terrible disease. It affects all of us,” McDonald said about Alzheimer’s, which afflicts 5.4 million Americans. We caught up with her on the pre-show red carpet and got some scoop on Private Practice and her music career.

Although she wouldn’t say whether exes Naomi and Sam (Diggs) will get back together, “put it this way, they have a major history,” she pointed out. Sam has been in a relationship with Addison (Kate Walsh), “But he was with Naomi for 17 years before that. She has squattin’ rights!”

Naomi and Addison’s once-tight friendship turned frosty under the circumstances, but McDonald would “like to see them come to some understanding,” she said, but wouldn’t divulge any plot developments. “They don’t let us know until the last minute. They think we’re going to blab! They keep the scripts from us until they absolutely have to give them to us,” she said, clearly under a gag order.

She was happy to talk, however, about her music plans that involve concerts in the U.S. and Canada, starting with a Mar. 28 date at the Longacre Theatre in New York, another show with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on May 5, and dates throughout the summer and fall in cities including Toronto, Birmingham and Costa Mesa, California.

“I’ll go all over, fly in and fly out,” said McDonald, and that air travel should help her get in the groove for her next CD. “The theme is flight,” she said.

 

(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

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