Written by The Business Journal Staff
(AP) — Audra McDonald will soon be stepping away from her new Broadway show for the best of reasons: The six-time Tony Award-winner is pregnant.
McDonald on Tuesday announced that she is expecting and will take maternity leave from “Shuffle Along” beginning July 24. She will return to the Tony Award-nominated musical this winter. McDonald, who grew up and got her start in musical theater in Fresno, also had to postpone taking her “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” to London.
In her absence, the role of Lottie Gee will be played by Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens. The production also said Savion Glover, the show’s choreographer, will step into the show.
McDonald, 45, and her husband, actor Will Swenson, married in 2012. She has a daughter and he is a father to two sons from previous marriages.
Her show explores the groundbreaking 95-year-old musical “Shuffle Along,” one of the first Broadway shows starring, written and directed by African-Americans and the first show with a jazz score.
“Who knew that tap dancing during perimenopause could lead to pregnancy? Will and I are completely surprised— and elated — to be expecting a new addition to our family,” McDonald said.
She added that she looked “forward to setting up a 1920s-themed nursery in my dressing room when I return to the show.”