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Musical diary a fine slice of Broadway

Jose Ruiz

Every one-woman show we’ve seen lately has been a litany of

struggles, disappointments and eventual successes that tend to

emphasize how determination and hard work eventually pay off.

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Tony Award-winner Donna McKechnie’s “Inside the Music,” produced

by the Colony Theater, is very much that type of show. Featuring a

plethora of song-and-dance numbers culled from her more popular

Broadway shows, coupled with clever and insightful narrative written

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by the gifted Christopher Durang, this show carries us from the early

days when Donna first hit show business, through her early successes

(and failures) to where she is today.

Thommie Walsh directs the two hours, which waltz along quickly,

with the second act being far better than the first, even though

there are times where the dialogue rambles and seem unconnected.

Trooper that she is, when Donna forgot her lines, she quickly

acknowledged it, apologized and recovered, and reprised the

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time-honored “the show must go on!” concept.

She sings from the music and librettos of the greatest and dances

the choreography of the best, giving as much energy and vibrancy as

she can muster to each number.

But there’s something missing. More aptly put, there’s something

added, which gets in the way. The repertoire has a common thread that

cries of a need to be loved, a fear of rejection and insecurity in

life. It’s evident the real theme should be the song, “I Want To Be

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Loved By You,” where the lyrics by Bert Kalmar clearly reflect her

anxiety in spite of the light touch, and this carries across the

footlights depicting an almost obsessive need for acceptance.

Her strong voice has a touch of melancholy, no doubt emoting the

feeling of some lyrics, but sometimes it was there even on the happy

tunes. As she prances her way through some numbers, the Fosse steps

are there, but the energy sparks rather than explodes, and the kicks

might have an inch or so less elevation.

But who’s measuring? Certainly not the audience! The rousing

ovation at the end shows she has many more days to spend inside the

music.


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