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REVIEW: Audra McDonald Live

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance date: Wednesday 8 May 2024, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia

A brilliant night of music to remember! Audra McDonald, the Broadway legend with a voice as commanding as it is tender, finally graced Adelaide with her presence. I had the extreme privilege of witnessing her stellar performance, and guys and girls, let me tell you, it was nothing short of magical. Audra’s show was a masterclass in vocal prowess and emotional depth, transporting us through a journey of classic Broadway tunes, stirring American standards, and heartwrenching ballads.

The most awarded performer on Broadway in history, Audra stepped on the Her Majesty’s Theatre stage in all black and led straight away in a stunning and engaging rendition of ‘I Am What I Am’ which set the tone of the evening. Greeting us, Audra told us the night was an evening of the class Broadway songbook, and that’s exactly what we got. Every song was music and theatre brilliance.

The Voice That Fills the Room

From the moment Audra stepped onto the stage, the atmosphere was electric. Her voice, a rich and powerful instrument, effortlessly filled the auditorium, reaching every corner with clarity and warmth. Her song selection was impeccable, showcasing not only her vocal versatility but also her deep emotional connection to each piece. Whether she was belting out Sondheim or whispering the lyrics of a slightly more jazzy number, every note was delivered with precision and feeling.

A Connection with the Audience

What sets Audra apart is her authentic ability to connect with the audience. Between songs, she shared personal anecdotes and insights that brought us closer to her world. Her stories about Broadway, her reflections on the roles she has played, and her humorous asides about life as a performer all made the evening feel intimate and exclusive. He charm is rich and real and it is easy to fall in love with her performance, and her. AND she is funny as she spreads her joy, happiness and love into the room.

Standout Moments

A few highlights of the night were:

  • ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess: Audra’s rendition was hauntingly beautiful, filled with soul and a deep, resonant sadness that moved many in the audience to tears.
  • Cabaret’: Dedicated to New York’s theatre industry coming our of the treachorous Covid period. Performed toawrds the end of the show, this was a powerhouse performance that showcased her incredible range and the emotional intensity she brings to every song.
  • TheHappy’ medley‘: A mash of ‘Come On And Get Happy’ and ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ was a wonderful encore, that set us all off into the night with hope in our hearts.
  • AND, extra points for mentioning her new-found love of our South Australian premier wine regions, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

The Band

The Musical Director Andy Einhorn led the talent on piano, with Gene Lewin on drums and Mark Vanderpoel on bass. Their music was played with expertise and finesse while filling the theatre with acoustic magic. These guys are are the top of their game and it’s evident Audra is very confident with them as their banter is fun and friendly.

Conclusion: A Night to Remember

Audra McDonald’s Australian show was a breathtaking display of musical brilliance and theatrical charisma. For those of us lucky enough to be there, it was a reminder of the power of live performance to stir the soul and lift the spirits. If you have the chance to see Audra perform live, don’t hesitate. It’s not just a concert; it’s an experience that resonates long after the final applause. AND, it makes you feel good, be a bit kinder and find the joy again that we may have lost along the way in this crazy world of our.

Bravo, Audra! Here’s hoping this visit was just the first of many more to come to Adelaide! Concertworks, let’s do it again.

Check out the Audra McDonald and Markus Hamence interview here

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