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Mega-star to perform Saturday with Peoria Symphony

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Audra McDonald, the legendary Broadway performer and award-winning actress and musician, will be the featured guest of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

McDonald, who has won six Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards, will perform a thrilling collection of songs from Cole Porter to Stephen Sondheim to George Gershwin, including a variety of popular Broadway hits and jazz standards.

“Ms. McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry, as both a singer and an actress,” said a Peoria Symphony news release. “With a record six Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards, she is among today’s most highly regarded performers. Blessed with a luminous soprano voice and an incomparable gift for dramatic truth telling, the Juilliard graduate is equally at home on Broadway and opera stages, as she is in roles on film and television.

“In addition to her theatrical work, she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world,” the release said.

This is McDonald’s final Midwest performance of the 2015-16 season and her appearance with the Peoria Symphony is made possible by a gift from Flo and Sid Banwart with additional support from Unity Point Health Methodist|Proctor. Support for the 118thseason of the PSO is also provided by PNC.

PSO Music Director George Stelluto said McDonald is “the most sought-after Broadway singer and will eventually take her place as one of the legendary performers of the American Songbook. This is truly an astounding opportunity for audiences in this region.”

McDonald most recently starred as Billie Holiday on Broadway in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” and as Bess in “Porgy and Bess,” winning Tony Awards for each. Her television credits include “Private Practice,” “Live from Lincoln Center” and the HBO documentary “Six by Sondheim.”

In 2013, her critically acclaimed performance as Mother Abbess in NBC’s live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” was watched by an estimated 18.5 million people across America.

She has performed in the White House for President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, multiple times at The Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center and has appeared on numerous television shows.

Tickets for Saturday’s concert start at $40 and student tickets are $21 and are available by calling the PSO Box Office at (309) 671-1096 or online at

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).