McDonald combines contemporary theatre pieces, including the title track by Adam Guettel, and classic Broadway showstoppers, with special emphasis on Harold Arlen's songbook. The New York Times says, "You come away captivated by as lofty a vision of non-classical American theater music as any singer has dared put forth."
How Glory Goes finds Audra McDonald, a four-time Tony Award winner (A Raisin in the Sun, Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime), at home in a variety of music theater styles—from standards by Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Leonard Bernstein, among others, to the title track written by her contemporary Adam Guettel.
Conducted by Eric Stern and Ted Sperling, and produced by Tommy Krasker, this 14-song collection gives a special place to the music of Harold Arlen, which has long been a favorite of McDonald's. From the soulful “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home” to the wistful “The Man That Got Away,” Arlen’s emotional and musical vocabulary offers this “vocal artist of singular skill and ability” (New York Times) a vivid range of dramatic possibilities. The near-operatic “I Had Myself a True Love”, the tender “A Sleepin’ Bee,” and the swinging “I Never Has Seen Snow” also receive idiomatic interpretations here, identifying McDonald with Arlen’s innovative output.
McDonald maintains her commitment to the work of young composers writing in musical theater with How Glory Goes. The title track takes its name from the finale of Adam Guettel’s 1996 acclaimed musical Floyd Collins. McDonald has collaborated extensively with Guettel, beginning with the four songs included on her debut album, Way Back to Paradise. Guettel’s 1992 song “Was That You” is also included here, along with Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’s “Come Down from the Tree,” written in 1990 for Once on This Island; Steve Marzullo’s “I Hid My Love,” with lyrics by the 19th-century British poet John Clare; “Lay Down Your Head,” from Jeanine Tesori’s acclaimed 1997 stagework Violet; and Jeff Blumenkrantz’s “I Won’t Mind,” from the 1998 show The Other Franklin.
Audra McDonald’s 1998 recording debut Way Back To Paradise boldly introduced the singular talents of one of Broadway’s fastest-rising stars. McDonald chose five of the most gifted writers in the new generation of composer-lyricists today. Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, Jenny Robert Brown, and Jenny Giering demonstrated the way in which these writers are resetting the stage of musical theater. Embraced by both the public and the critics, Way Back to Paradise prompted TIME magazine to say, “There is no finer singer on Broadway.”
Produced by Tommy Krasker
Engineered by John McClure
Recorded July 1999, at Sony Recording Studios, New York City
Additional recording September 1999, at Clinton Recording Studios, New York City
Assistant Engineers: Keith T. Shortreed
Edited by Paul Zinman, SoundByte Productions, New York City
Mixed at Avatar Studios, New York City
Assistant Engineer: Scott Young
Mastered by Ric Wilson, Digisonics, Northridge, CA
Music Preparation: Donald Oliver, Chelsea Music Service, Inc.
Orchestral Contractor: John Miller
Design by Jeri Heiden, SMOG
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz
Audra McDonald, vocals
Violin: Suzanne Ornstein (concertmistress), Belinda Whitney-Barratt, Laura Oatts, Cenovia Cummins, Xin Zhao, Rick Dolan, Karen Karlsrud, Karl Kawahara, Lorra Baylis, Dale Stuckenbruck, Karen Milne, Avril Brown, Britt Swenson, Elizabeth Lim, Michael Nicholas
Viola: Debra Shufelt, Sarah Adams, Shelly Holland-Moritz, Sheila Brown
Cello: Clay Ruede, Adam Grabois, Laura Bontrager, Sarah Carter
Bass: Pete Donovan, Dick Sarpola, John Beal
Woodwinds: Helen Campo (flute, alto flute, piccolo), Bob Bush (flute), Chuck Wilson (flute, tenor sax), Rick Heckman (flute, oboe, English horn), Dennis Anderson (oboe, English horn, clarinet), Jim Roe (oboe), Dan Willis (oboe), Matt Dine (English horn), Steve Kenyon (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet), Steve Hartman (clarinet), Al Hunt (bass clarinet), Don McGeen (bass clarinet, bassoon), Mark Thrasher (bassoon), Marc Goldberg (bassoon)
Trumpet: Brian O’Flaherty, Wayne DuMaine, Tony Kadleck
Trombone: Herb Besson, Keith O’Quinn, Paul Faulise
French Horn: Chris Komer, Javier Grenada, Katie Dennis
Percussion/drums: Warren Odze, Joe Passaro, Dave Ratajczak
Harp: Grace Paradise
Guitar: Kevin Kuhn
Piano: Lee Musiker, Ted Sperling, Eric Stern