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.
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
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
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
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