Tony Award-Winner Audra McDonald’s Acting Advice: “Choose the part that scares you”
If there is a list of people who are unquestionably acting experts, Audra McDonald‘s name is on it. She not only has won the most performance Tony Awards in history — six — but is also the only person to win in all four acting categories for a Broadway actress. In other words, if McDonald dispenses acting advice, it’s in your best interests to listen. So you’re in luck — McDonald recently shared some acting advice in a piece for Lincoln Center (a venue that McDonald is extremely familiar with).
One of her pieces of advice? Choose a part that scares you. She explains, “What attracts me is something that scares me. Something where I’m going to be challenged, something where I feel at the end of the experience, I’m going to know more than I did going into it. Evolution is very important to me as an artist.”
Another tip is to work as much as possible because it often leads to more work. She says, “Do it, and even just the nature of the people you’re working with, and the experience that you’re having [will] send out into the universe that you are accepting and more will come.”
One of the hardest things to follow is McDonald’s belief about how important it is to distance oneself from those who always praise you without honesty. She points out, “Friends and family will tell you the truth. Even if the truth hurts, they’ll always tell you with love. Keep people whose opinions you trust around you, and anybody who kisses your butt on a daily basis, keep far away.”
Though some of the other points seem obvious (i.e., “Read the Script!”), McDonald’s explanations help solidify the importance of each piece of advice for actors. After all, she probably has six more Tony Awards than you do — so she certainly knows what she’s talking about!