Donna McKechnie, newly inducted into the American Hall Of Fame, received a Best Actress Tony Award for her performance in A CHORUS LINE. She is regarded internationally as one of Broadway’s foremost singing and dancing leading ladies, having starred in and also choreographed numerous musical theatrical productions in London's West End, Paris and Tokyo.
She recently opened a new cabaret show at 54 Below with Andrea McArdle…. A CELEBRATION OF SONDHEIM AND HAMLISCH, which has been touring the country for the past year. Their show was nominated for a MAC Award this year.
Donna was one of the stars in a new musical called HALFTIME, which has been recorded and released with a score by Matthew Sklar.
She is one of the stars in 4GIRLS4, a new concert series with Andrea McArdle , Faith Prince and Maureen McGovern.
Donna restaged Michael Bennett's choreography for the American Dance Machine 21st Century for the last three years at the Joyce Theatre in New York and will be working with them again, this year. She costarred in The Arena Stage's production of PAJAMA GAME and the previous year she was one of the stars in Michael John Lachuisa's, THE WILD PARTY in London's West End.
A few seasons ago Donna was featured in Chris Gatelli's highly acclaimed IN YOUR ARMS at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre with a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and
co-starred in Warren Carlyle's original musical, CAREFREE.
Besides A CHORUS LINE, Ms. McKechnie’s Broadway credits include HOW TO SUCCEED…., THE EDUCATION OF HYMAN KAPLAN, SONDHEIM-A MUSICAL TRIBUTE,(which she also choreographed),ON THE TOWN, PROMISES-PROMISES, COMPANY, STATE FAIR.(Fred Astaire Award), and John Doyle's production of THE VISIT.
She was in another Doyle Production a few seasons ago, called TEN CENTS A DANCE at the McCarter Theatre in Princton, N.J.
Besides her extensive work performing in concert and with symphony orchestras all over this country, Donna has starred in numerous regional plays and musicals, including FOLLIES, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, MACK AND MABEL, GYPSY, LOVE-LOSS AND WHAT I WORE, THE GLASS MENAGERIE and THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES.
Bob Fosse invited Donna to play the lead in his last production, a National tour of SWEET CHARITY, for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award.
She has appeared in numerous television dramatic series and musical shows including HBO Specials, Hullabaloo, the Tonight Show, Fame, Cheers, and Dark Shadows. She choreographed GUYS AND DOLLS at the Hollywood Bowl a few seasons ago, as well as choreographing Leslie Caron in SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS at the Laguna Playhouse.
Ms. McKechnie’s memoir, TIME STEPS- My Musical Comedy Life, was published by Simon and Schuster.
She was also featured in the films, THE LITTLE PRINCE and EVERY LITTLE STEP.
Musical Theatre Performance Notes
Your voice is "you".
Any inhibitions, tension and restrictions you may have, will be reflected and revealed in your voice.
Allow your presence to be big and full. The song is small, like an article of clothing, another dimension of you.
You are more important than the song, than the words, yet the song must be clear, illuminated.
Every song is a communication.
Look at the scene and/or song objectively first, before making subjective choices.
What is the song about?
What is the event or situation in the song?
Where is it taking place?
What has just happened that motivates dramatic action? (life before)
To whom are you singing?
What do you want or need?
What do you “do” to get what you want? By what means? How? (the intention is always a verb…seduce, confront, coax, threaten, implore, invite, challenge, ect.)
What are the obstacles? (create dramatic tension)
Do you succeed or fail in achieving objective?
What does the lyric tell you about the character?
What does the feel of the music tell you about what the character is feeling? (condition)
Plot is story.
Story is an interaction of characters.
Actions are either physical, verbal, psychological, or a combination of all three.
They must travel toward a target in order to interact with the physical, verbal, and psychological actions of others.
And what is done to you by someone or something, causes your responses, your sensations and your feelings, about which you will want to do the next thing. (give and take)
Other Key Words or Actions……….Charm, Demand, Plead, Protest, Beg, Accost, Command, Subdue, Titillate, Tantalize, Torment, Urge, Excite, Intimidate, Allure, Pacify, Flatter, Encourage, Inspire, Shame, Humor, Tease, Alarm, Hassle, Goad, Irritate, Provoke, Delay, Compromise, Placate, Cajole, Patronize, Vilify, Rouse, Quash, Inflame, Assault, Surmount, Bait, Beguile, Impress, Mystify, Bewitch, Terrify, Threaten, Please, Dazzle, Deflate, Inflate, Defy, Harass…..etc.
Suggested reading…. A CHALLENGE FOR THE ACTOR, by Uta Hagen, published by Charles Scribner’s and Sons.
IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, by Brenda Ueland