Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald is back on Broadway, currently starring in “Ohio State Murders.” With her return, she’s using her voice to amplify two important conversations.
In the latest episode of “The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal,” McDonald and Fadal chat about the history-making play — currently in previews at the newly renamed James Earl Jones Theatre — but also about parenting and menopause.
McDonald calls “Ohio State Murders” a “suspenseful murder-mystery memory play.” Semi-based on playwright Adrienne Kennedy’s experiences at The Ohio State University in the 1940s, McDonald expressed her gratitude and honor to be a part of the show, but also her sadness.
“I’m sad that she’s 91, and this is finally happening,” McDonald said. “I think it’s about damn time, but I wish it could have happened for her earlier. Perhaps now we’re in an environment where more people will really be able to understand the play and receive it and give it the flowers that it truly deserves.”
McDonald isn’t the only member of her family starring on the Main Stem this season. Her husband of 10 years, Will Swenson, takes on the title role in “A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical” at the Broadhurst Theatre. The couple shares a unique understanding of the demands of each other’s jobs — having performed simultaneously on Broadway back in 2014. Of course, their current show schedules are hardest on their six-year-old daughter. “She keeps saying, ‘I just wish people didn’t have to work for a living,’” McDonald shared.
Regardless, McDonald is proud of her work and that of her husband and says it’s been an incredible experience for them both.
In addition to raising her voice about playwright Kennedy and visibility for her and playwrights like her, McDonald brings another topic out of the shadows during her conversation with Fadal.
On Oct. 4, McDonald shared a selfie on her social media accounts, accompanied by a caption detailing the symptoms and emotions attached to menopause. She recalled feeling “just awful” when she snapped the picture.
“I know I’m not the only one feeling this way,” McDonald said of the shame that often accompanies menopause. “There are so many different things that encapsulate what going through menopause is.”
Fadal, also outspoken on social media in regard to her own journey with menopause, was quick to offer support as McDonald continues the conversation around the topic.
By speaking out, the actor hopes to destigmatize it and normalize what is a natural experience, as well as inform younger women of what’s to come so they don’t feel othered.
Viewers of “The Broadway Show” can also catch interviews with Lea Michele, currently starring in “Funny Girl,” and Nik Walker who can be seen as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton.” The episode also features highlights from the opening night of “& Juliet,” moments from the Arthur Miller Foundation Honors and gives a shout-out to two arts organizations ahead of Giving Tuesday: The Entertainment Community Fund and Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS.
“The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal” airs on weekends. Check your local listings for air time and channel.