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Broadway star ignites on Colony stage


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

this weekend, read her 48 Hours column Saturdays. Reach her at