Audra McDonald was born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Fresno, California.
At age 9, she started taking voice lessons and performing at a local dinner theatre.
In 1988, She graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Fresno and went on to study classical singing at The Juilliard School in New York City, graduating in 1993.
One year after graduating, she earned a Tony Award for her role in the musical Carousel.
By age 28, she had earned 3 Tony Awards, becoming the youngest actress ever to do so.
Today, Audra McDonald has 6 Tony Awards and is the only performer to have earned awards in each of the four main acting categories (Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.)
In 2015, She was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people.
Outside of performing, She is a passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth.