Will and Audra (center) with of few of
our friends from the cast and audience)
Last Friday night we had the amazing opportunity to see Audra McDonald perform live in '110 in the Shade' at Hale Center Theater in Orem. What a treat. We actually went to see our good friend Will Swenson (Audra's boyfriend and he played opposite her), but are so glad we didn't miss the opportunity to see Audra. Hale is a very intimate little theater... only 7 or so rows, 'in the round' and there are no bad seats. Audra McDonald is a 4 time Tony Award Winner (one for the role she was playing in this show), 2 time Grammy Award Winner and she even has an Emmy Award. She is truly an amazing performer. I have been to broadway shows and seen many great performances, but in this setting, where you are so close, it was truly unforgettable. She is such an honest and beautiful actress. I was truly touched and inspired. And the rest of the cast was fabulous. I'm sure the idea of performing along side Audra brought out this all star cast... the ensemble was jam packed with performers you would usually see in starring roles. It was fun to see so many friends on stage together and they all did wonderful. Marvin Payne, Tim Threlfall, Jared Young, Korianne Johnson, Rachel Woodward, Kevin Geortzen, Lita Giddons... all were fabulous. We were sad to miss Emily Castleton, Hailey Smith and Melissa Lindsey who were in the other cast (they ensemble switches nights). I'm sure I forgot someone... but you were all wonderful. Then... there was the audience. The draw of Audra and Will brought out many old theater friends. It was a reunion all around and we saw people we haven't seen in many, many years... and some we see a lot too! Truly a memorable evening!! I wish I could do it again. If you live in Utah Valley and have a chance be sure to go see this show!! Audra and Will perform through this Saturday... you don't want to miss it!! But if you do, try to catch it after that... different leads but same show and sure to please.