Before she became a Broadway great, Audra McDonald survived a suicide attempt.

Content warning: discussion of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Audra McDonald is one of the greatest performers of our time. Full stop.

A venerated actress, spellbinding singer, and consummate performer, McDonald is a six-time Tony Award winner, the most of any individual, and the only person to earn the coveted trophy in all four acting categories. To say nothing of her television and film roles and her resistance-ready Twitter account, this is a woman with some serious talent.

But like many great performers, McDonald's path to success wasn't easy.

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First thing: The "S" in "S-Town" stands for shit, but that's not the S-word that came to mind in my listen of the new podcast.

The seven-chapter story — which has been downloaded more than 10 million times so far — follows "This American Life" reporter Brian Reed as he learns about the goings-on of Woodstock, Alabama, the shit-town in question, through one of its longtime residents: antique clock restorer, climate change fanatic, and dog rescuer John B. McLemore. From a potential murder and cover-up to forgery and buried treasure, this is not true crime as you know it.

"S-Town" host Brian Reed. Photo by Andrea Morales. All photos used with permission.

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