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Audra McDonald receives prestigious arts award from MIT

Audra McDonaldAutumn de Wilde

Audra McDonald, the winner of a record six Tony Awards, has been chosen as the 2018 recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT.

As part of the award, which comes with a $100,000 cash prize, McDonald will participate in a residency at MIT. The singer-actress will give a public talk on April 14 about her career in musical theater, which included her unforgettable 2011 portrayal of Bess in “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess’’ at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater, before the show moved on to Broadway. She’ll also talk about her work on television — she was on the ABC medical drama “Private Practice’’ — and film.


In a separate, previously scheduled event, McDonald is slated to perform at Symphony Hall on April 13 as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston.

In a statement reacting to the Eugene McDermott Award, McDonald said: “My 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. I am therefore so humbled and honored to receive the McDermott Award in the Arts and look forward to exploring these topics during my residency at MIT, an institution that embodies innovation, creativity, and, above all, humanity.”

MIT associate provost with responsibility for the arts Philip Khoury said in a statement that the university “look[s] forward to having Ms. McDonald work with our faculty and students during her residency,’’ adding “her incomparable range across multiple genres of performance will enrich our performing arts community.”

Previous recipients of the Eugene McDermott Award include conductor Gustavo Dudamel, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, writer-performer-director Robert Lepage, author Junot Diaz, and architect I.M. Pei.