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Just Back from Connecticut: Audra McDonald

Occupation: Actress-singer

Home Base: New York City

Wrap session: Weary from her recent concert tour and the launch of her latest album, Happy Songs (Nonesuch), McDonald retreated to the Spa at Norwich Inn, in Norwich, Connecticut (607 W. Thames St.; 800/275-4772 or 860/ 886-2401; www.thespaatnorwichinn.com; doubles from $225). "During the detoxifying thalassotherapy, they slathered algae all over me and wrapped me in warm blankets. I also had so many oil treatments that when I was finished, I was glistening, glowing, and reflecting light for miles around."

Naked Truth: "I don't usually get recognized outside New York City," says McDonald. "But I was walking out of the steam room and these women said, "Hey, you're that singer!' And I was thinking I couldn't be more naked."

Guilty Pleasure: In between massages, McDonald sneaked away to nearby Mohegan Sun to play the casino's one-armed bandits. "My husband laughed: "You just got detoxified, then you go to these smoke-filled rooms!' "

C'mon, Get Happy: Her new CD of songs from the 1930's and 40's is a celebration of her year-old daughter's birth. "And Stephen Sondheim said, "People know you as this very dramatic performer, but I'd love to see you do something happy.' It's hard to argue with the master." next trip: McDonald moves to Los Angeles this fall to start shooting Mister Sterling, a new political drama airing midseason on NBC.

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