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'Chorus Line's' Donna McKechnie: An 'upset' turned into a singular sensation

Ben Strothmann / Courtesy of BroadwayWorld.com
Producer-director Richard Jay-Alexander of Miami and Broadway star Donna McKechnie at a Sept. 7, 2006, book party to launch the release of McKechnie’s new autobiography, Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life, at the National Arts Club in New York City.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

For two years in the mid-1970s, Donna McKechnie was Broadway's singular sensation, reigning over perhaps the most important musical of its day, A Chorus Line.

Her performance as Cassie, a washed-up dancer who pleads with a director (and ex-boyfriend) for a small part in a new show, catapulted McKechnie from supporting roles to a best-actress Tony -- beating theater legends Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera.

''It was an upset. A real upset,'' recalls McKechnie, 63, who on the eve of A Chorus Line's revival on Broadway has written her autobiography, Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life (with Greg Lawrence, Simon & Schuster, $25).

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