Audra McDonald



I'm not even a Grey's Anatomy ...

Question: I'm not even a Grey's Anatomy watcher, but it was the star power that drew me to the backdoor pilot of Private Practice. I am very disappointed in the recasting of Merrin Dungey, who I thought was just fine when she played Naomi. Audra McDonald does take things too far. As for Amy Brenneman and Paul Adelstein, they are brilliant. I too remember his creepiness on Prison Break, especially his torturing Sarah Wayne Callies last year. His hidden depth in Practice is really great. I enjoy seeing how his love for kids and his work opens him up, and he and Amy have a better shot than Tim Daly and Kate Walsh at the "untouched chemistry" card. I've found myself in situations similar to what his character is struggling with, and it's written perfectly. The nervousness, the desire to not ruin the friendship and the feelings of inadequacy with someone who's having trouble letting go of an ex. It's good stuff, and if they kicked up Violet's interest in Cooper and then hit pause, it would ... read more

"In Which Addison Finds a Showerhead"

News flash: Women in Connecticut don't pleasure themselves! OK, maybe just Addison. But since she's just a character on a television show, I guess I should take back the above generalization.How funny was Violet's William Jefferson Clinton fantasy? Of all people! It just goes to show you, all women have something or someone that gets their motor going. I'm a Milo Ventimiglia kind of gal myself and his Heroes superpowers definitely add a fun element to my daydreams. Who is your fantasy man? Post below and share with us all! It was kind of nice that Addison and Pete were open about their mutual attraction to one another and we almost saw a kiss. Addison was good — for now — and walked out with a nice mental image to take home to her showerhead: cowboy/gladiator Tim Daly. I liked that thought! We even got to see a glimpse when he socked the runner's coach in the face! Well deserved. Now I was not blessed with a remarkable physical talent like running or walking briskly but I ... read more

The thing that really annoys ...

Audra McDonald, Private Practice

Question: The thing that really annoys me about Private Practice is that every actor is well known already. In fact, many of them have already been leading men or leading ladies on their own TV shows! There won't be any surprise breakout stars with this series, like there were on Grey's Anatomy. Had anyone even heard of Ellen Pompeo, T.R. Knight, Chandra Wilson or Katherine Heigl before that show's first season? It's like we're watching a veteran actor's workshop or something with Private Practice, and that just isn't fun for me. Answer: Interesting point, although for my money, it's the writing that sets my teeth on edge most weeks. But this brings up the perennial issue about how TV is so much better at creating new stars (and Grey's Anatomy created a bunch of them) than it is at repackaging familiar faces and asking us to accept favorite actors in roles we may feel are beneath them (Amy Brenneman as the wretched Violet, anyone?). So far, my favorite character is Paul Adelstein's ... read more

"In Which Addison Finds the Magic"

Well I don't know about you but I won't be eating cake anytime soon. And that stinks because I really like cake. Not sure how I feel about Dell trying to win Naomi's affections through his grandmother's baked goods but I do know what it's like to want an "in" with someone you care about. He's definitely barking up the wrong tree though and she really gave it to him in the end. Poor Naomi. I want to feel bad for her but she's really just wallowing in her own misery. Why won't she try to reconnect with Sam? And more Taye Diggs please! Not nearly enough Sam scenes tonight.Maybe my memory is fuzzy, but I don't recall ever learning the reason for their split. Shout it out in the comments if I missed something. If I didn't miss it, I want to find out!But back to the wallowing. Wow how old was that message Violet kept listening to? Watching her try to help Sad Sack all the while knowing what a "weak" person she is in love as well was scary. If it's one thing Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos taugh... read more

The Push Worked for Daisies

Kristin Chenowith in Pushing Daisies by Scott Garfield/ABC

The early ratings are in, and it looks like the combination of aggressive promotion and laudatory media buzz paid off for the first round of ABC’s delightful Pushing Daisies, which handily won its time period Wednesday and is off to a solid start. Honestly, though, if any of the reality alternatives had prevailed (especially CBS’s snooze-inducing Kid Nation and the is-that-still-on stupid briefcase show over on NBC), I think I’d be wearing a black armband in to work for the rest of the season. I’m dying to see a second episode of Daisies, and am trying to pretend I’m not worried that ABC hasn’t supplied one yet. (A year ago, I was dazzled by the pilot of The Nine, an episode the series never again lived up to.) Still, after watching an opening hour as filled with wonder and whimsy as Daisies’ pilot (or “Pielette,” as the episode was titled), how can anyone express anything but hope?My other top Wednesday night priority was seeing how Priv... read more

"In Which Sam Receives an Unexpected Visitor"

Wow. Now I know what Ron Burgandy meant when he said he was in a glass case of emotion! So much went on tonight. There was a poison Granny, a baby switch and a nasty stripper with a rash on her bum! Yuck! Speaking of bums, I loved how Sam was more concerned with Stripper Ginger's rash instead of the fact that she was gyrating in his face. He's my kind of guy! Another classic example of how men and women handle break-ups differently. Women bring ice cream over and men send strippers. Whatever works, I guess!Poison Granny was very clever. Malicious and insane, but very clever. I guess a mother really will do whatever it takes for her child. I would have had her butt hauled off to prison but Sam recognized the desperation in her actions and decided to go along with the scheme by telling her son he was allergic to alcohol and staging an intervention to get him help. Did anyone else feel bad for Violet? I did too, then I heard that she spent $6000 on a bike. Did this bike come with wings... read more

Private Practice's McDonald on Taye, Kate and Leaving Broadway for TV

Audra McDonald, Private Practice

She may be a newcomer to prime time, but Audra McDonald is already winning rave reviews from her costars. We speed-dialed the four-time Tony winner, who plays fertility specialist Dr. Naomi Bennett on Private Practice (tonight at 9 pm/ET, ABC), to talk about life after Broadway, replacing actress Merrin Dungey and her real-life relationship with sex symbol Taye Diggs. How is life on Private Practice these days?Audra McDonald: I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate for the producers: The cast is a group of people who really like each other. So when we do group scenes, it's very difficult to get anything done because we're having too much fun. They always need read more

"In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl from Somewhere Else"

Thank God my anticipation for this show didn't ruin the first episode for me. I was afraid I put a hex on the show by hyping it so much in my head. Sure, at first I wanted Addison to stay in Seattle and in Karev's arms, but I think I'm going to like her "one-man gyne show" in L.A.!I didn't think I was going to laugh when Sam saw Addison naked because it had been all over the commercials, but I did. She did the robot! Anyone doing the robot is hilarious, at least in my book.Overall, I felt this show had a different vibe than Grey's Anatomy. I liked that it was not set in a hospital and the conversations and issues were more grown-up and less petty. Don't get me wrong, I love my Grey's, but this new dynamic was refreshing. But, of course, it did mimic the wacky medical situations that seem to come out of nowhere. Addison will be delivering a three-headed baby in no time!I enjoyed the intense relationships that already exist between the characters and look forward to the new ones that ... read more

Exclusive: Grey's Spin-off Recast Shocker!

Audra McDonald by Kevin Mazur/

Apparently, Addison goes through girlfriends as fast as she does boyfriends: When Private Practice debuts this fall, Kate Walsh's character will have a new BFF — Audra McDonald. A spokesperson for ABC Studios confirms that the four-time Tony winner has been tapped to replace Merrin Dungey in the role of Dr. Naomi Bennet, Doc Montgomery's confidante. The decision was made for creative reasons. Earlier this month, there were rumblings that execs had concerns that the Private lineup wasn't perfect, especially after some of the actors didn't "pop" with audiences. "Grey's Anatomy was cast off whoever seemed to fit the parts best and have good chemistry," says a well-placed source. "The spin-off was cast with actors the network and studio already had under contract." Nevertheless, there are not expected to be any further cast changes coming before the show goes into production next month. Personally, as much as I love Dungey — particulary her kick-ass stint on Alias — I ... read more

Cat Scratched: Forest Whitaker Exits Broadway Revival

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and director Kenny Leon have led a mass exodus from a planned, all-black Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which was to also star Phylicia Rashad (as Big Mamma), Audra McDonald (Maggie) and Anthony Mackie (Brick). Sources tell the New York Post that the staging's "inexperienced" and "inept" producers — two hedge-fund managers who, for instance, wanted to replace four-time Tony winner McDonald (whom they derided as "a regional theater actress") with Beyoncé — are to blame. read more

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