Naples, FL: (September 26, 2011) . . . Broadway star and legendary entertainer Donna McKechnie returns to TheatreZone in Naples, cast as Marmee in Little Women: The Broadway Musical, announces artistic director Mark Danni. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, the musical follows the adventures of the four remarkable March sisters coming of age during the American Civil War era.
The casting reunites the Tony Award-winning star of A Chorus Line with director Danni for the second time. Ms. McKechnie, regarded internationally as one of Broadway’s foremost dancing and singing luminaries, starred in TheatreZone’s 2008 production of Stepping Out. “The role of Marmee is that of a strong mother,” explains Danni. “She is the backbone of the family and her songs show how truly trying motherhood is,” he continues. When Marmee confronts her daughter Jo about dealing with loss in the encouraging, world-wise “Days of Plenty,” Danni acknowledges he immediately pictured McKechnie’s warm voice in the role.
“When Donna performed the role of Mavis, a dance teacher, in Stepping Out, I spotted her instinctive motherly qualities and knew I needed to have her play Marmee someday in Little Women,” Danni explains. “Little Women embodies the complete theatrical experience; it’s a night filled with laughter, tears, dancing and over 20 breathtaking songs,” promises Danni. “The powerful score soars with the sounds of personal discovery, heartache and hope – the sounds of a young America finding its voice,” he adds.
Mothers and daughters have been bonding over Little Women since the novel since it was first published in 1868. The timeless tale about the power of family, friendship and romance are as relevant today as when they were written. The story of the March women’s tribulations in New England while their men folk are away fighting in the American Civil War has been the subject of no less than 17 screen adaptations, an opera, and a musical by Allan Knee, Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein. Little Women performs at the G&L Theatre for just 10 performances March 8 through March 18, 2012.
About Donna McKechnie:
Donna McKechnie is the quintessential Broadway “triple threat” who can do it all – dance, sing and act. She won her Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1976 when she collaborated with choreographer Michael Bennett on her most noted role, “Cassie” from the musical A Chorus Line. She is also known for playing Amanda Harris/Olivia Corey on the Gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows, from 1969 to 1970.
She is currently appearing in John Doyle’s Ten Cents A Dance at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey. She has performed extensively around the world and on Broadway her credits including: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Promises Promises, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (national tour); Company and State Fair for which she received the Fred Astaire Award for Best Female Dancer for the 1995-1996 season. Moving between Broadway and television, McKechnie counted herself lucky when she became a dancer on “Hullabaloo,” a weekly pop music show.
She was often paired with Michael Bennett, another dancer and an aspiring choreographer. As he began working on A Chorus Line, Bennett told McKechnie it was to be a showcase for her. McKechnie was able to capture her own deepest feelings about being a dancer and about her passion to perform. A Chorus Line hit Broadway in 1975 breaking all records and winning every award, including a Pulitzer Prize.
Bob Fosse invited McKechnie to play the lead in his last production, a national tour of Sweet Charity, for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. The New York Times review of her cabaret show, Gyspy in My Soul, compared her to “legends Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon as a brass- knuckled trouper with a heart of gold in a breezy, happy to be here celebration.”
In 2005, non-profit TheatreZone was born on two concepts: an affinity and nostalgia for the stage, and for the intimacy of live audiences. Co-founders artistic director Mark Danni and his wife, actress/choreographer Karen Molnar shared a vision and a passion to bring Equity professional actors, and produce talented and innovative productions of classic “lost treasures of Broadway” to Southwest Florida.
TheatreZone Upcoming Season 7 productions include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Dec. 1-11, 2011); Company (Jan. 5-15, 2012); Little Women (March 8-18, 2012) and The Boyfriend (May 3-13, 2012). Season tickets (four shows) range from $172 – $192 and individual seats costs $43 – $48 plus a $2 per ticket fee. A mini series (3 shows) and group rates are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, call TheaterZone at 1-888-ZONE-FLA, 1-888-966-3352 or purchase online at: www.theatrezone-florida.com
Richard Cameron of Theatre Chat thanks TheareZone. Cameron’s articles have featured conversations with Tony Award winning Producer Stewart Lane, Emmy Award winning Casting Director Jeff Greenberg, multiple Broadway and TV stars and creative teams bringing arts lovers together around the world for the largest social media arts movement. Tag You’re it! Share with your communities.