Web series designed to raise awareness for people with disability challenges
How does anyone cope if they fall and cannot get back to their wheelchair? Or reach the phone to call for help? Or get to their ride when the elevator is full? How does one now live in a wheelchair with fond memories of touring with a professional dance company? And is this the stuff of comedy?
Donna On the Go answers these and other questions with poignancy, humor and no self-pity. The lighthearted web series, described as “designed to raise awareness for people with challenges,” is currently vying for eight Emmy® nominations in Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama (category 91).
The show’s star, Donna Russo, plays Donna Reed, a former dancer overcoming daily obstacles while maneuvering through life with a walker and a wheelchair. Russo, whose career includes theatrical dance performance, film, TV appearances and motivational speaking, eloquently sums up her attitude with, “When life throws you a curve, roll with it.” Up for the nomination as Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama, Russo also serves as L.A. Ambassador to the Abilities Expo.
Peggy Lane (submitted for Outstanding Direction and Writing for a Comedy Series), series creator, and writer/director of the episode “Fall,” created Donna for friend Russo when she realized, “For all the talk of diversity, one group isn’t much represented at all. And that is the PWD community (Persons With Disabilities).”
Lane continues, “I learned while working on Will & Grace, you can make a point with a light touch far more effectively than with a two-by-four.” The happy result is Donna On the Go.
Lane says there is a fine line with comedy one must take care not to cross. The episode “Really” comically depicts Donna in a run-away wheelchair. “You don’t want the audience to think your character is in actual jeopardy,” she says. Rather, Donna’s character adapts to adversity and prevails against the odds.
One Emmy® nomination Lane wants for the show is for Tam Warner’s choreography. Warner choreographed the poignant episode “Dance” in which Donna and Scott Hislop perform a pas-de-deux to Leela James’ song, “Fall for You.” “Dance” is the final episode of the second season of Donna.
Marbry Steward and JC Henning appear in the episode entitled “Turner.” Both Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy® nomination co-stars, portray Donna’s clueless friends, crassly condescending to Donna about her “condition.” Turner Syndrome is the genetic condition Donna Russo was born with. She now also contends with adult onset FSH Muscular Dystrophy.
Craig Hutchison’s direction of “Garage,” earns a potential Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series nomination. “Garage” explores of the impact of stolen handicapped parking spaces.
Television Academy voters can support Donna On the Go in Category 91 – Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama. Please vote.