By Eddie Shapiro
Audra McDonald's 6-year-old daughter, Zo', knows almost as many gay people as her mother. 'We went on Rosie O'Donnell's cruise [on which McDonald performed] and had a gay ol' time,' chuckles McDonald. '[The gay thing] wasn't new to her. From a very early age she'd say things like 'Boys don't wear dresses,' and my husband and I always said the same thing: 'Well, some boys do.' '
Zo' (named for McDonald's Master Class costar, Zo' Caldwell) is only just realizing that Mom is big. 'Mommy, are you famous?' she recently asked. 'Well, some people know who Mommy is, and some people don't,' explained the Broadway diva, who stars in the Roundabout Theatre Co.'s revival of 110 in the Shade, opening this month at New York's Studio 54. 'Are you as famous as Oscar's daddy?' Zo' asked. (That'd be her playmate Oscar Jackman, son of Hugh.) 'Um, no,' said McDonald, 'not that famous.' 'Well, why not?' demanded Zo'.
It's a fair question. Because although McDonald's never played a clawed mutant, she has, at 36, four Tony awards, an Emmy nomination, four solo albums, a slew of films and TV appearances, and a string of sold-out concerts worldwide. Nonetheless, she's both humbled and mystified by her fame: 'I am always surprised that people even know who I am outside of New York City!'