PHILADELPHIA —Fresno is proud of Broadway superstar Audra McDonald. And, she is just as proud of her hometown.
Performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the city of Brotherly Love on Tuesday, McDonald sang to a sell-out crowd at Verizon Hall. She belted out her favorite Broadway hits in a performance that the Philadelphia Inquirer declared “enthralling.”
One man I sat next to said he’s attended a McDonald show 30 years in a row. Yet, he didn’t know she was from Fresno. If I didn’t tell him, she certainly did.
McDonald told a story about forming the group “All That Jazz” while at Roosevelt High School. As well as another story about an inappropriate song she sang at a contest in Reno.
With the wisdom of a 53-year-old, she told the audience that singing the sultry “Cornet Man,” made famous by Barbara Streisand in “Funny Girl,” probably wasn’t the best song for a 14-year-old.
After all, the lyrics start with “I just put the kids to sleep,” and include “he’s the only man can make my coffee percolate,” something that 14-year-old Audra didn’t quite get the meaning of. Nevertheless, she won the solo contest.
McDonald on Tour
McDonald honored Fresno again, dedicating “Home” from “The Wiz” to her hometown.
Her singing voice is amazing, a given. She also interacted easily with an audience of about 2,500. When she sang Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing),” she included participation from the orchestra and the crowd.
Her two-hour set included Rodgers and Hammerstein, the Gershwins, Bernstein, and Sondheim.
McDonald is on tour, playing the rest of the week in Chicago and Cincinnati. She returns to California with dates in San Francisco (Nov. 29), Santa Barbara (Nov. 30), and Los Angeles (Dec. 2).