It was announced today that Audra McDonald's next stage role will be as Billie Holliday in the play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. She will step into the play before she stars opposite Oprah in a revival of Marsha Norman's night, Mother in the 2015-16 season. I am amped for another McDonald performance as the next guy, but I wish they would put her in the starring role as a feature film. Hear me out!
Last year was a landmark year for African American cinema. With 12 Years a Slave, Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels' The Butler, audiences are getting mature works featuring black directors behind the camera and powerful performances from black actors on screen. Wouldn't it be awesome to see a female, black actress take the lead in a musical biopic? Ray was a celebrated work back in 2004, so why can't Billie Holliday get the same respected treatment on the big screen?
McDonald already has a big following on television. My fiance clued me on how big of a role she played on Private Practice, and I didn't realize she was nominated for three Emmys for her work on the show. And, in case you missed it somehow, she's a Broadway legend. She already has five Tony Awards. Surely this play or her work opposite Ms. Winfrey will garner her more nominations--if not wins. I mean, come on...
It's no accident that she is one of the most awarded Tony winners in history. She was one of the best things about the televised Sound of Music. Let her take it to the next level! Put her on the big screen, people!
Maybe she doesn't want to move to film. I might be pushing her in a direction she has no interest in going. You have to admit, she'd be even more luminous on a big screen. Audra McDonald could take over the world.