Let’s start the review of this sterling program with the encore.
Audra McDonald’s Over the Rainbow is an anthem for justice, respect and dignity. People around me were wiping away tears, as was I. I think we all made the connection back to the opening song — When Did I Fall in Love — Fiorello LaGuardia is not so much beating back corruption with the power of compassion as he is giving hope that right has might.
McDonald’s interpretation reverberated throughout Hilbert Circle Theatre. In the opening there was no fanfare, simply a statuesque woman in a modest black gown of shirred lace walking on stage. As people spotted her they rose with a thunderous applause. And so it went for 20 songs.
Oh there were the light moments making the poignant observations all the more essential, like I Could Have Danced All Night with audience participation. McDonald is at home on stage, and we’ve come to visit, so she chats us up. We learn what she cares about (her family, and the people around her).
You don’t earn six Tony Awards for flipping your hair—you earn them for caring about humanity. Thank you Ms McDonald for not giving up on Hoosiers. The small-minded, pinch-hearted might pass a law, but most of us rise above it.