With a record six Tony Awards, Audra McDonald certainly qualifies as Broadway royalty. So for her latest disc, “Sing Happy,” a live recording with the New York Philharmonic, she selected songs from classic musicals as well as works from her stellar career.
Standards such as “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess are complemented on the album by overlooked gems such as “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough” from Hallelujah, Baby! (1967), “Never Will I Marry” from Greenwillow (1960) and “Sing Happy” from Flora, the Red Menace (1965). Also on the disc, released May 25 by Decca Gold, is “Children Will Listen,” the finale of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods (1986). At the Ravinia Festival’s annual gala July 15, expect to hear a Sondheim tune or two when McDonald appears with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program titled “Sunday in the Park with Audra.”
Joining McDonald will be Andy Einhorn, her longtime music director, who also conducted the N.Y. Phil concert, recorded live May 1 during that orchestra’s spring gala. Announcing the disc on Twitter, she said, “So excited to share this album. Getting to sing with the @nyphil is such a dream come true!”
As for what to expect at one of her concerts, McDonald told the Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle in a recent interview, “I hope that they have a better sense of who I am by the end. I find that they’re very personal evenings for me. There’s no fourth wall; I like to speak to the audience. I like to give them an idea of who I am, and more importantly, what we all have in common. So, I like to sort of, in my own way, have that holy communion that can happen between an audience and a performer. That’s what I’m looking for, that we all have a better sense of who we are when we leave the hall at the end of the night — and how much we actually all have in common.”