Cabaret Review-Donna McKechnie,the original Cassie in the 1970s Broadway production of “A Chorus Line”, at The Crazy Coqs.
“..she saved the best till last…a stunning rendition of “Hate/Love New York”…I literally could not take my eyes off her.”
The original Cassie in the 1970s Broadway production of “A Chorus Line”, Donna McKechnie entered The Crazy Coqs dancing exuberantly, looking great and getting us all into a party mood despite being 72 – yes, hard to believe, and it got harder as the night went on.
Taking us through the story of her love affair with New York and including the highlights of her career, our immediate thought was how apt that she should be in London while there is at present a revival in the West End of the very show that made her name. She told me she is looking forward to seeing the show and that she is pleased this revival “..honours the original choreography.”
With great self-deprecatory wit, Donna told us of her encounters – indeed relationship – with her analyst ( she is, after all, a child of the ‘50’s), her somewhat turbulent love-life, and her enduring love of dance, perhaps most particularly with ballet. Naturally, one of the standout numbers was the deeply personal “At the Ballet” from “A Chorus Line”, the writing of which was based on her own background and experiences.
Pianist Nathan Martin provided excellent support, not least when playing the role of the analyst!
Her voice, whilst not as strong in the high notes as it once was, is still powerful and needless to say, she moves beautifully. Her patter is witty and informative and her links into songs effective. One link that worked particularly well was her introduction to Irving Berlin’s “Better Luck Next Time”, coming out of recollecting one of those therapy sessions.
However, she saved the best till last. In a stunning rendition of “Hate/Love New York” by Portia Nelson, her dance moves held us mesmerised and whilst I wanted to jot down some notes, I literally could not take my eyes off her.
The audience loved it – and so did I.