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Audra McDonald wins Tony for her golden performance as Billie Holiday

Broadway actress Audra McDonald took home the award for best dramatic actress as history was made Sunday night at the 68th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall. In winning the award, McDonald took home her sixth Tony, breaking the record for most acting Tonys.

Actress Audra McDonald winner of the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for 'Lady Day' attends the 68th Annual Tony Awards Gala at The Plaza Hotel on June 8, 2014 in New York City.
(Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

McDonald won the award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the Broadway hit “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” In front of a prolonged standing ovation, the record-setter openly shared her tears of joy in acknowledgement of her accomplishment and also acknowledged Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou and Billie Holiday for paving the way for her and being her inspiration. The singer and actress made the moment even more emotional by addressing the memory of Holiday directly. She said during her speech, “You deserve more than you were given on this planet and this is for you baby.”

McDonald also thanked her family for supporting her in her growth and development as an actress in a career that continues to flourish. Not only does McDonald have the six Tony awards, she also has two Grammys. She previously won for her roles in “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Master Class,” “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “Ragtime” and “Carousel.”

The six-time Tony Award winner set herself apart from five-time winners Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris with the win, beating out Tyne Daly, LaTanya Richardson, Cherry Jones and Estelle Parsons in the category. “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” the story of Billie Holiday towards the end of her career, has grossed $5 million to date at the box office and has also snagged an award for best sound designer as Steve Canyon Kennedy took home the Tony. The show is scheduled to close on August 10.

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