Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Audra responds to criticism of Tony speech

American Theatre Wing's 68th Annual Tony Awards - Press Room

In her Tony Awards acceptance speech Sunday night, Audra McDonald thanked her parents for going against the advice of doctors and not putting her on ADHD medication, steering her toward the Good Company Players Junior Company instead. She took some flak for that statement yesterday in TIME magazine from a parent of a hyperactive son. McDonald offered a response today. She apologizes if she offended the mother, and she explains her parents’ decision:

After months of increasingly frustrating, painful moments watching their child struggle, and after talking with psychologists and my teachers — but not yet having the benefit of decades of research, media and social discourse on what was still a relatively new medication — my parents happened to attend a performance at a local dinner theater. Although my family was a very musical one — my dad was a high school music teacher, my grandmothers both taught piano, and, as you yourself were kind enough to bring up in your letter, my aunts used to sing at various black churches in California in the ’50s and ’60s — we were not theatergoers.

That night, at that theater in Fresno, California, my mother and father saw a troupe of young children performing in a pre-show cabaret. A lightbulb went off in their heads and they decided to encourage me to audition to be a member of this troupe, in hopes that it might be a good outlet for my energy, an oasis for my emotions and possibly a place for me to build some desperately needed confidence.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Responses to "Audra responds to criticism of Tony speech"

Pam says:

Great story. I hope a light bulb goes off for that mom.

Mary Dean says:

Audra is a class act. I remember her very first performance at Roger Rockas in Fresno. She had the good fortune of wonderful caring parents and people who supported in I so many way. She deserves a life time of Tony’s and good fortune.

Heather P says:

I echo many commenting online when I say: “Ms. Luscomb, it is entirely probable that in that moment Audra McDonald was talking about her parents and not about you.”

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