Title - 'Sing Happy'
Artist - Audra McDonald & New York Philharmonic
For those not in the know, Audra McDonald is a German-born American actress and singer. Primarily known for her work on the Broadway stage, she has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actor, and is the only person to win all four acting categories.
She has performed in musicals, operas, and dramas such as A Moon for the Misbegotten, 110 in the Shade, Carousel, Ragtime, Master Class and Porgy and Bess.
As a classical soprano, she has performed in staged operas with the Houston Grand Opera and the Los Angeles Opera and in concerts with symphony orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic.
In 2008 her recording of Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with the Los Angeles Opera won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album and the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.
She has a close working relationship with composer Michael John LaChiusa who has written several works for her, including the Broadway musical Marie Christine, the opera Send (who are you? i love you), and The Seven Deadly Sins: A Song Cycle. With her full lyric soprano voice, she maintains an active concert and recording career throughout the United States performing a wide repertoire from classical to musical theater to jazz and popular songs.
In 2016, McDonald was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. In 2017 she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
On television, McDonald portrayed Dr. Naomi Bennett as a main cast member of Shonda Rhimes's ABC television drama Private Practice from 2007-2011. She also portrayed the recurring character of Liz Lawrence in Season 4 of The Good Wife; a role that she reprises as a main cast member in the spinoff series The Good Fight.
In 2013 she performed the role of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music Live! opposite Carrie Underwood as Maria.
Phew! Well, still going strong on all fronts, Sing Happy, the new live album from six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, was made available for digital download this past May 11th, and released on CD this past June 1st, 2018 via Decca Gold.
The concert was recorded during McDonald’s May 1st, 2018 concert performance at David Geffen Hall for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's spring gala.
1. "I Am What I Am" [La Cage aux Folles]
2. Medley: "It Might As Well Be Spring" ([State Fair] / "Hurry It's Lovely Up here" [On a Clear Day You Can See Forever]
3. "Cornet Man" [Funny Girl]
4. "Sing Happy" [Flora the Red Menace]
5. "Simple Little Things" [110 in the Shade]
6. Introduction to "Being Good Isn't Good Enough"
7. "Being Good Isn't Good Enough" [Hallelujah, Baby!]
8. "Summertime" [Porgy and Bess]
9. "Chain Of Love" [The Grass Harp]
10. "Vanilla Ice Cream" [She Loves Me]
11. "March Is A Windy Month" [Millions]
12. Introduction to Medley
13. Medley: "Children Will Listen" [Into the Woods] / "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught" [South Pacific]
14. "Facebook Song"
15. "Never Will I Marry" [Greenwillow]
16. "Being Alive" [Company]
17. Introduction to "Make Someone Happy"
18. "Make Someone Happy" [Do Re Mi]
19. Introduction to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"
20. "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" [The Sound of Music]
21. "More I Cannot Wish For" [Guys and Dolls]
This quite incredible, able, confident and reaching fiercely for the stars album actually marks McDonald’s first live solo recording and her first solo album to feature a full orchestra.
McDonald performs a selection of material new to her repertoire, as well as songs she has never previously recorded, including “I Am What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles, “Vanilla Ice Cream” from She Loves Me, “Children Will Listen” from Into the Woods, “Being Alive” from Company, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific, as well as the premiere of a new song from Tony Award winner Adam Guettel’s upcoming musical Millions.
For those observantly scanning the track listing above, yes, there's plenty of love brought forth from the classic American songbook, the fist being the second track, a medley from both State Fair and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
Most all theatre buffs will hone in on the staple go-to of every soprano, "Vanilla Ice Cream," but it seems, to my ears, at least, that McDonald's take is less fussy than ones that have gone before. Still embedded with just the right amount of coy winks, it's in these lighter moments within those certain tracks that McDonald truly shines.
McDonald also returns to musical moments from her acclaimed stage career, including “Simple Little Things” from 110 Degrees in the Shade and an unamplified performance of “Summertime” from Porgy & Bess.
The concert, which was conducted by McDonald’s longtime music director, Andy Einhorn, is a pure, unadulterated musical candy box of delights from start to finish. Indeed, upon that finish, the final song being "More I Cannot Wish You" from guys and Dolls, you sit there in disbelief knowing that your afternoon's delight is over ... until you hit Play again and all is right with the world, once more.