And it's what McDonald has in her life that makes what Holiday didn't have all the more searing.
In 1956 Holiday spoke candidly to interviewer Mike Wallace about what she wanted more than anything else:
"Right now? I want a beautiful home, and I want kids. ... And I want to be able to have my own club. I want a small club. My own club, a club where if I feel like it I want to sing two songs I can, if I don't feel like singing, I don't have to."
McDonald said, "She wanted to be in control of her own destiny."
Billie Holiday died broke and alone at the age of 44. Audra McDonald, about to turn that very age herself, is in a very different place.
"Yeah, it's interesting, all those sort of domestic things that she craved and wanted so desperately, I'm fortunate enough to have. I'm the luckiest person I know."
And if Audra McDonald doesn't win another Tony, well, there's always next season -- and talk of her starring in a revival of the play, "'Night, Mother," opposite Oprah Winfrey.
"I heard that there was a reading and it went pretty well," said Rocca.
"I heard that, too!" McDonald laughed. "I will say this: It would be an amazing opportunity to do something like that with Oprah. She's an incredibly talented actress."
"You and Oprah on Broadway? People would go bananas!" said Rocca.
Click on the video player below to view excerpts of McDonald's performance in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill."
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