Audra McDonald, Pregnant at 45, to Take Leave from Broadway

(Photo: Julieta Cervantes)
(Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

Audra McDonald may not win a Tony Award this year, but she has an even more joyful event in store.

The six-time Tony winner and star of best-musical nominee Shuffle Along — whose nine other nods for Broadway’s biggest prize did not, shockingly, include one for McDonald, a longtime critical and audience favorite — announced Tuesday that she is expecting her second child, at the age of 45.

Who knew that tap dancing during perimenopause could lead to pregnancy?” McDonald quipped in a statement. She and husband and fellow performer Will Swenson, who has two children by his previous marriage (McDonald has a daughter from hers), “are completely surprised — and elated — to be expecting a new addition to our family.” (It will be the couple’s first child together.)

In addition to starting maternity leave from Shuffle Along July 24, McDonald will have to postpone her West End debut in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, which earned her a Tony for her portrait of Billie Holiday, In Shuffle Along, McDonald plays another real-life (if lesser-known) artist, the ’20s stage performer Lottie Gee —a role that will be played in McDonald’s absence by Rhiannon Giddens.

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