Los Vegas Concert Review: AUDRA MCDONALD IN CONCERT (The Smith Center for the Performing Arts)

Post image for Los Vegas Concert Review: AUDRA MCDONALD IN CONCERT (The Smith Center for the Performing Arts)

by Eve Meadows on May 9, 2018

in Theater-Las Vegas,Tours


The last time I saw the captivating singer and actress Audra McDonald in concert, she sang the Bernstein/Comden/Green tune “I’m a Little Bit in Love” from Wonderful Town: “Mm–mmm! / It’s so nice to be alive / When you find someone who bewitches you.” And when you see her upcoming concert at the Smith Center you will not only find her utterly bewitching, you will no doubt find yourself a little bit in love. OK, maybe a lot.

I had the privilege of seeing Ms. McDonald’s Tony-winning performances in Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime, but it was her turn as Clara in Passion at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival that proved McDonald is, as Stephen Sondheim maintains, “one of the glories of the American theater.” As part of her tour singing mostly American theater tunes, Madam McDonald is stopping at the Music Center for one date only.

Not only is she a refined singer with a golden voice of purity and control, but she makes every song a story unto its own. Stage and Cinema’s review of her tour de force in Porgy and Bess states: “McDonald exudes a warmth and humanity that is only matched by her tremendous vocal power and terrific acting chops.” Her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill won her a record-breaking sixth Tony Award.

For her LA Opera-presented concert – part of a North American concert tour – McDonald will be accompanied by the LA Opera Orchestra featuring Gene Lewin on drums, Mark Vanderpoel on bass, and Brian Hertz on piano; her longtime music director Andy Einhorn conducts. LA Opera patrons may remember that the two-time Grammy Award-winning McDonald made her 2007 Company debut starring as Jenny in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, but aside from opera and Broadway she also has a fruitful television career — a few series, sure, but what about her Mother Abbess in NBC’s live production of The Sound of Music? (We can only hope she’ll perform “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”)

Even if the nun’s song doesn’t appear, you can expect favorite show tunes during this intimate evening, along with classic songs from the movies, choices from the Great American Songbook, and original pieces written especially for her. Sure, she has a set list, but I have seen her in concert suddenly change her mind and shift things around. Unlike singers who do the exact same set, she knows how to keep things fresh. She’ll make someone happy, all right … you.

Audra McDonald in Concert
Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas

tour continues through 2018
for cities, tickets and more info, visit Audra

Leave a Comment