The six-time Tony Award winner, 45, announced last month (May16) that she and actor husband Will Swenson are preparing for the arrival of their first child together this summer (16).

She was slated to step down as Lottie Gee in Shuffle Along on 24 July (16), and was planning to return to the show in the winter.

Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens was chosen to fill her shoes during her maternity leave, and was joined by the show's choreographer Savion Glover, who is widely considered to be the world's greatest living tap dancer.

However, producers of the production made the surprising announcement on Thursday (23Jun16) that the entire cast will have its final bow along with MCDonald on 24 July and close the show all together, citing that without the beloved Broadway star's presence in the musical, they won't be able to keep the production afloat financially.

"Audra McDonald... is absolutely extraordinary in the show," producer Scott Rudin said in a statement. "And I am filled with gratitude for both her exemplary partnership on Shuffle Along and also for her remarkable resilience and fortitude in doing everything possible to play as many shows as she can, despite the circumstance of her pregnancy.

"We are thrilled that she and her husband, Will Swenson, are experiencing the opportunity to expand their family - and we wish them all good things as they approach the birth of their child this fall. It has, however, become clear that the need for Audra to take a prolonged and unexpected hiatus from the show has determined the unfortunate inevitability of our running at a loss for significantly longer than the show can responsibly absorb, and we have decided to close the show when she leaves on July 24."

MCDonald also added her thoughts on the bittersweet news, stating, "I am overjoyed to be expecting a new addition to my family yet completely heartbroken that our tremendously talented cast and company - my 'Shuffle Family' - won't be able to continue telling this incredible story. We are all so fortunate to have worked with-and learned from-the genius that is (director) George C. Wolfe and played a part in bringing this vital and illuminating work to life.

"I am eternally thankful for the support and compassion the production, especially Scott Rudin, has shown me. While a complete surprise to Will and me, this baby is one of the greatest gifts of our lives."

In addition to her Shuffle Along leave, MCDonald also put off plans to make her West End debut in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, in which she portrayed Billie Holiday.

MCDonald and Swenson wed in 2012. She has a daughter, named Zoe Madeline, and he is father to two sons from their previous marriages.

Shuffle Along has received critical acclaim since opening in March (16), and has been nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.