Audra McDonald made history on Sunday night as a six-time Tony Award winner. McDonald, now the most celebrated actress on Broadway, won Best Performance by a Leading Actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill.
"I am standing on Lena Horne's shoulders. I am standing on Maya Angelou's shoulders. I'm standing on Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee and most of all Billie Holiday," McDonald said in a touching acceptance speech. "You deserved so much more than you were given when you were on this planet. This is for you, Billie Holiday."
McDonald's previous honors include those for her performances in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime and A Raisin in the Sun. She is the only actor to have won in all four major acting categories. "Broadway is where I feel at home," McDonald told us recently in our exclusive interview below.
Sophie Okonedo and James Monroe were also recognized with early wins, for Best Featured Actress and Best Featured Actor, respectively. Monroe was recognized for his role as the Genie in Aladdin, while Okonedo won accolades for A Raisin in the Sun. Her Raisin director Kenny Leon also took home a Best Director award for helming the revival. A Raisin in the Sun also won Best Revival of a Play.
Denzel Washington, who was not recognized with a Tony nomination for his leading role in Raisin, did not attend the awards. Leon told BET.com recently he felt it was "a snub of the highest order.
In his Broadway debut, Bryan Cranston won Best Actor in a Play for his performance as Lyndon B. Johnson in the history play All The Way.
Hugh Jackman served as host of the awards, which featured a rousing performance by Fantasia, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle along with the cast of After Midnight. Jackman also performed a hip hop version of "The Music Man" with LL Cool J and T.I. Jennifer Hudson graced the stage to sing "Neverland" from the upcoming musical Finding Neverland.
Click here for a complete list of winners.
(Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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