IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Broadway has come to Burbank -- wrapped up in one charismatic little
package known as Donna McKechnie.
She received a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the
original Broadway production of “A Chorus Line” in 1975, and over the
years she has worked with such top names in the theater business as
Bob Fosse, Patty Duke and Ethel Merman.
Her one-woman show, “Donna McKechnie: Inside the Music,” opens
Saturday at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. No one is happier than the
Colony’s Producing Director Barbara Beckley that McKechnie decided to
bring her showcase to Burbank for its Los Angeles premiere.
“Donna is one of the top five Broadway dancers of all time and is
also a marvelous singer and actress,” she said. “This will be an
absolutely wonderful evening with one of America’s great legendary
The piece recounts the actress’ inspiring life story, illustrated
through a combination of singing, dancing and storytelling, Beckley
said. It touches on the triumphs, setbacks and her ability to
overcome enormous personal and professional obstacles.
She is the only performer in the show, which is new for The
Colony. The theater mainly produces ensemble plays and musicals.
McKechnie will be accompanied by a combo led by the show’s music
director Tom Griffin of Burbank.
This production is also special, Beckley said, because it is the
first time a top design team will create the set.
Even though the piece has always been performed in theaters across
the nation and received high critical acclaim and standing ovations,
McKechnie has always been a visitor for one or two nights at
theaters, with stages set with lighting and sound for other shows.
McKechnie learned about The Colony from company member Todd
Nielsen. He worked with her last summer on Stephen Sondheim’s
“Follies,” presented by Reprise! at the Wadsworth Theatre in West Los
When McKechnie asked friends in the industry if they knew about
the Colony Theatre, she was met with wild enthusiasm, that it would
be perfect for her show, Beckley said. After seeing the theater, it
was a done deal.
Rounding out the producing team, The Colony has brought director
Thommie Walsh from New York. A highly regarded Broadway director and
choreographer, Walsh was also in the original cast of “A Chorus
“It’s a case of Broadway comes to Burbank with these two,” Beckley
For show times and tickets, call 558-7000.
Soprano Lisa Abel and violinist Yumi Man were winners of the
second annual Young Artists’ Competition co-sponsored by the
Hennings-Fischer Foundation and Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra.
Abel and Man won out over 50 initial competitors in two days of
preliminary competition to make it to the finals, where they competed
against four other sopranos and three other instrumentalists March 29
at the Hall of Liberty, Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.
Abel of La Canada Flintridge won the vocal competition singing
Mozart’s Deh vieni, nan tardar from “The Marriage of Figaro” and
Puchinni’s Quando m’en vo from “La Boheme.”
Man, of La Crescenta and the youngest competing finalist at 15,
won playing Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor.
Each winner receives a honorarium of $500, and will perform with
the Burbank Philharmonic at its summer concert at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10
at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank.
The orchestra’s next free concert is 7:30 p.m. April 26 at the
Hall of Liberty, Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn
Drive, Los Angeles.
Under the direction of Maestro Steven Kerstein, “Mozart & More”
will be an evening of great classics, including Mozart’s Sinfonia
Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra in E flat major K. 364,
and will feature solo performances by David Stenske on violin and
Andrew Picken on viola.
Guest conductor Bethany Pfluger will conduct Schubert’s Symphony
No. 5 in B flat major D. 485.
For more information, call 771-7888 or e-mail burbank-
* JOYCE RUDOLPH’s column appears Wednesdays. For events happening
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