Audra McDonald, four-time Tony Award winning singer and actress, joins in the Celebration of the Arts Week at Utah State University Friday, Jan. 21, for the Grand Gala in the Kent Concert Hall. The Grand Gala is part of the Caine College of the Arts’ “Celebration of the Arts” week at USU. McDonald maintains a successful television career acting as Dr. Naomi Bennett in the hit ABC television series “Private Practice.” She also earned an Emmy nomination for her role in the made-for-television movie version of “A Raisin in the Sun” on ABC. “She is a stunning artist with one of the most beautiful voices ever heard,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts. “Her unbelievable talent is something I’m so excited to share with this community, and she is, without a doubt, one of the best professionals I have ever worked with. She is a true friend to this college.” The Grand Gala also features the talents of students and faculty from the Caine College of the Arts. Vocal, instrumental and theatrical talents will be shared as well as aspects of dance, art and cinematography. The evening of glitz, glam and world-class entertainment honoring Marie Eccles Caine, Manon Caine Russell and Kathryn Caine Wanlass begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Kent Concert Hall of USU’s Chase Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $10 general admission and free for USU students with ID. McDonald, soprano, earned an unprecedented three Tony Awards before the age of 30 (“Carousel,” “Master Class” and “Ragtime”) and a fourth in 2004 (“A Raisin in the Sun”). McDonald is frequently compared to legendary performers such as Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. In the 2010-11 season, McDonald joined Alan Gilbert, Yo-Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Emanuel Ax and the New York Philharmonic for a gala concert celebrating the 120th anniversary of Carnegie Hall, which will also be televised nationally on PBS. McDonald opened the 2008-09 season of the Los Angeles Philharmonic with a gala concert at Disney Hall, celebrating Esa-Pekka Salonen’s final season as music director.
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