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Performing the Present: Audra McDonald and Oskar Eustis

Arts at MIT
Event organized by Arts at MIT

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Audra McDonald, the 2018 recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, shares timely stories from her career in a public presentation with Oskar Eustis, the Artistic Director of the Public Theater in New York.

On the occasion of the Award, the conversation will cover topics including McDonald’s most memorable and career-defining roles on Broadway; her current concert tour and television series, The Good Fight; and her off-stage social advocacy on behalf of underserved youth and the LGBTQ community. Eustis and McDonald also will discuss how theatrical revivals—such as McDonald’s performances in A Raisin in the Sun, Ragtime, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and more recently, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill—reflect their times and the evolution of social attitudes and cultural experiences.

Eustis, who directed McDonald in the role of Olivia in the Public Theater’s 2009 production of Twelfth Night, likewise engages with issues of social import in his work, such as inclusion and access for both theater makers and audiences. For more than 60 years, the Public Theater has operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone.

McDonald, the winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award, visited the campus during the semester to work with students in MIT’s music and theater arts classes and ensembles. Upon learning of her selection for the McDermott Award, McDonald commented that her “greatest hope is that art helps us as a society to find common ground, to create dialogue, and to understand each other in new and meaningful ways.”

Free and open to the public; reservations required via eventbrite.

We recommend that you claim your seat by 4:30pm. We will release open seats at 4:50pm. An overflow room will live-stream the event if there are no longer any available seats in the venue.

Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Huntington Hall, MIT room 10-250, enter at 77 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA.


Arts at MIT