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Sweeney Todd , The Demon Barber of Fleet Street   
Mrs. Lovett

''Sierra Repertory  Theatre's  production  is flawless.  Jennie  May Donnell is pie-maker Mrs. Lovett and she's got it all -- the voice, the timing, the humor.         I don't know how you make someone who bakes people into pies delightful, but Donnell does it.''

Diane Nelson

The Union Democrat

Sonora, CA

''the always brilliant Jennie May Donnell lives Mrs. Lovett in the Capital Playhouse

production of Sweeney Todd... ''

Steven Dunkleberger

The Weekly Volcano 

Olympia, WA

"Rarely has acting of this caliber been seen. . .the choices made by Donnell were surprising, heartbreaking, and amazing but always appropriate and inspired.  If you think you've seen Mrs. Lovett well, you haven't - until you've seen her played by Donnell."  

Wade Alexander


Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, London

''Donnell's Mrs. Lovett provides comic relief. She is the most complex and well-rounded character in the play, and Donnell plays her with a range of emotion from teasingly flirtatious to as brutal and cold as Todd himself.''

Alec Clayton,

The News Tribune

Tacoma, WA

''Blowzy and pretty mezzo soprano Jennie May Donnell uses precise diction in her compelling performance. Her fantasy of marrying Todd and living ''By The Sea'' showcases Donnell's complex mixture of warmth, motivation and acting range.''

Dianne Runion 

Special to the Record 

Manteca, CA

''Jennie May Donnell had the

audience eating out of her hands and that's no mean feat considering she was serving human pie!''

Deke Farrow

The Modesto Bee

Modesto, CA

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Hello, Dolly! - Dolly Levi

''Portrayal is actually an unfair term here, because Donnell was Dolly. Such explosions

of compassion, humor and control only happen when an actress meets herself within a role. Donnell doesn't carry this production - she elevates it. The cast is much better here thanks to this doll of  a Dolly.  This is Dolly's show.  It's an adventure because she makes it one, it's funny because Donnell is a riot, and memorable because her energy is one-of­ a-kind. Donnell plays Dolly like she was born for the role."

Bob Derby 

Troy Daily News 

Springboro, Ohio

''... she plays Dolly for laughs and captivates her audience from beginning to the standing-ovation end. Miss Donnell is a vivacious comedian, doing what she loves to do, hamming it up. She paints the 1964 song and dance comedy-drama with a broad vaudevillian brush and has the people loving every minute of it. Miss Donnell's ''Hello, Dolly!'' she sings to the hilt. She gives equally grand treatment to ''Before the Parade Passes By.''

All during the performance she flirts with the audience and everyone has a good time. Dolly sparkles with wit and little asides to her audience and we feel that she too is having fun.''J

Jim Nieman 

The Star Free Press

Springboro, Ohio

''Last Thursday we witnessed a first for us at the New La Comedia Dinner Theatre. A standing ovation...over the years we have attended La Comedia, seeing countless musicals and plays and never once have we witnessed an audience standing and applauding a performer.

But last Thursday the entire audience rose and sent a message to Jennie May Donnell that they thought her performance was super. And super it was. She was a real person, not just a performer on the stage, and the audience felt it and showed it's appreciation in the end.''


Dayton, OH.

''The grand dame is Donnell.  Her Dolly is superb. Reines may have directed the show but it's Donnell's. She's a powerful conduit between the stage and audience. She is both actress and narrator. She makes ''Dolly'' into an intimate, funny little ride into 19th century America.

Donnell's got enough spark, sizzle and sass to rival a light show.

She's good and it's fun.

She had the audience ready to stand and applaud early on in Act I. Go.''

J. D. Ames,

Rapid City Daily Journal

Rapid City, SD

''Donnell draws the audience into the production through her portrayal of the famed matchmaker. She goes out and hooks the audience by bantering with them during musical bridges to songs, or when she walks through the theatre's aisles during musical production or scene breaks.

Donnell was warm, witty, self-effacing and, even though most of the audience probably is nothing like Dolly, theatre-goers could identify with her. Donnell's Dolly is a crowd pleaser.''

Sam Rubin 

Dayton Jewish Chronicle

Dayton, OH.

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"Donnell delivers the finest Dolly Levi I can recall seeing. Depending on the song, Ms. Donnell can raise the roof or lift your heart. And in character, she communicates chutzpah, graciously laced with tenderness and topped with a voracious zest for life. Her occasional asides, whether to the audience or others on stage, are precisely timed and full of spirit.  Donnell plays Dolly in a broader sense than I've seen before - and I loved every moment of it."

Dennis Mullins

Wisconsin State Journal  

"And the audience was so eager to pay homage to Jennie May Donnell in the role of Dolly that it tendered her a standing ovation right in the middle of her closing song, and remained standing until the final note was sung and all the way through the curtain call. Donnell has an infectious laugh and a voice that can belt out a delightful sound. She plays right to the audience, sharing confidences with those present, holding their attention right in the palm of her hand with her bouncy and flamboyant portrayal of the matchmaker who finds herself a piece of the action."  

Dolly Piper

Jefferson County Union

". . .playing Dolly as a kind of smorgasbord of grand ladies of the musical comedy. Sometimes she's Sophie Tucker, sometimes Ethel Merman, Sometimes La Bella Channing herself. The audience is led by the nose through her musical numbers and monologues. She provides humorous asides of her own that are firecracker good fun."

David Molthen

Waukesha Freeman 


Harvey - Veta Louise

Jennie May Donnell's zany, all-over-the-place emotional rollercoaster is a ride that most actresses can have difficulty keeping up; yet Donnell flies through with ease.”

Road to 1,000 with March Gonzalez

“Veta, played by Jennie Donnell, is wonderfully cast as the want-to-be high society lady of the house.  Her verve throughout the play is infectious.”        

Charity Maness

Copper Gazette

Sonora, CA         

“The show is great fun.  Myrtle Mae and Veta are priceless.  Absolutely outstanding.  You really want to see this production!”                                                MaryAnn Jackson


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Deathtrap - Helga Ten Dorp

Our Town - Mrs. Gibbs

''Jennie May Donnell creates richly authentic moments in the Gibbs family. She is the glue that binds her brood together, a no-nonsense woman. Jennie May Donnell has a stage presence that's

hard to miss.''

Lynn Taylor-Rick

Rapid City Daily Journal

Noises Off - Dottie Otley

''Dottie, the star, played by Jennie May Donnell is her usual wonderful self. Donnell's Dotty is a clear audience favorite. If you like farces, this is one of the best."

Lynn Taylor Rick 

Rapid City Daily Journal 

Rapid City, SD

Arsenic and Old Lace Martha Brewester

''Jill Swank and Jennie May Donnell shine as eccentric sisters Abby and Martha. Their stage presence and phenomenal chemistry take audience members on a hilarious ride into their pleasantly demented world.''

Deb Holland

Rapid City Daily Journal

Inspecting Carol Dorothy Tree-Hapgood

''Hearty belly laughs when Jennie May Donnell takes the stage to gather the troupe for some inspirational warm-ups using an imaginary lemon.''

Deb Holland,

Rapid City Daily Journal

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She Stoops To Conquer - Mrs. Hardcastle

Jennie May Donnell and Eric Johnson didn't disappoint Playhouse regulars who have come to expect excellent characterizations from them.

Deb Holland

Rapid City Journal

Company - Joanne

''Jennie May Donnell was marvelous in her portrayal of the obnoxiously drunken housewife. Her signature number ''the Ladies Who Lunch'' was simply painfully perfect. Donnell's Joanne was complex and ruggedly crass...she was a gem to watch.''

Steve Dunkelberger

The Weekly Volcano

Tacoma, WA

Mame - Mame Dennis

''Donnell conquers everything, from squirming  uncomfortably atop a large cardboard moon to overwhelming the snooty Burnside family in Georgia, singing with gusto and love to her nephew Patrick. Donnell is doing all this and she is having fun and making it fun for the audience. This gal has talent and then some. Proof of that is summed up when she sings

''If He Walked Into My Life'' Terrific!''

Charles Sanders

Rock Island Argus

Rock Island, IL.

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Annie - Miss Hannigan

''Jennie May Donnell's incredible portrayal of the scuzy, drunken head of the orphanage was hilarious. She literally rocks the stage with her antics while executing a very convincing drunk. Her rubber-legged gait, terrific timing and expressions right out of an ad for bile pills garner plenty of laughs. ''Little Girls'' was a show highlight.''

Jim Arpy 

Quad City Times

Rock Island, II

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Miss Mona

''Donnell is outstanding as Miss Mona. She plays

her character as a down-to-earth and believable woman. Her Miss Mona is a loving and kind mama to all the girls and she has a sweet and mellow voice.  She lovingly  explains the  rules in a rocking  song ''A  Little Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place.''

Alec Clayton

The News Tribune

Tacoma, WA

Baby - Arlene

''Donnell sings ''Patterns,'' and we begin to see how confirming, how debilitating those patterns have become. Donnell's complicated, moving performance stays in the mind long after most of the tunes have fled.''

Cody Walker

The News Tribune

Tacoma, WA

Cowgirls - Jo Carlson

''Highest praise goes to Jennie May Donnell as Jo, the bar owner, whose singing is a showstopper every time.''

Elayne LeTraunik

Chicago Chit Chat

Chicago, IL

Into the Woods - Witch

''Jennie May Donnell takes command with her fine voice in this magical production.''

Al Reiss

Medford Mail Tribune

Medford, OR

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Pump Boys and Dinettes  

Rhetta Cupp

''Jennie May Donnell, Hot Springs' favorite daughter, shines as Rhetta Cupp, a saucy diner server. Her sultry gyrations and beguiling glances carry the show. Theatregoers were drawn to Donnell's character even before curtain as she mingled among patrons in the front rows.''

Deb Holland

Rapid City Daily Journal

Rapid City, SD

The Mikado - Pitti Sing

''Donnell shows us her versatility and polish as Pitti Sing. She is both court jester and tour director.''

J. D. Ames

Rapid City Daily Journal

Rapid City, SD

Once Upon a Mattress  Queen Aggravain

''Donnell gave her audience the kind of performance they've come to expect from her. Queen Aggravain's wonderful voice and maniacal cackle, are over-the-top and hysterical.''

Lynn Taylor Rick

Rapid City Daily Journal

Rapid City, SD

Oklahoma - Aunt Eller

''The funniest performance of the evening was turned in by Jennie May Donnell. Donnell has a way with laugh lines. There were several times during the evening when I could hardly stop laughing because of her performance. Her Aunt Eller is a lovable,warm character with, obviously, a great sense of humor.''

Susan Lewis

Quad City Times

Rock Island, II

A New Brain - Mimi Schwinn

''a standout performance Donnell's Mimi Schwinn. Donnell does emotional breakdowns well, her ''Throw it Out'' stingingly proves that point.''

Steve Dunkelberger

 The Weekly Volcano

Olympia, WA

''Donnell sings the hauntingly beautiful

''The Music Still Plays On''

as she contemplates the future without her son.''

James A. Van Leishout

The News Tribune

Tacoma, WA

Gypsy - Mama Rose

''Jennie May Donnell

gives a Tony award winning performance as Mama Rose.''

Steve Dunkelberger

The Weekly Volcano

Olympia, WA



Jeff Kingsbury's production of Sweeney Todd at the Capital Playhouse in Olympia Washington in October of 2007 is quite the best I've ever seen...and I have quite a history with the show going back to the earliest performances of the original Broadway production in New York. I've seen Sweeney Todd dozens of times throughout the original Broadway run, on national tour, in various revivals and regional productions, and in editions of the show done around the world - including in London where I shared the theater in which it was running by producing concerts in the same venue on Sweeney Todd's dark night.


Loving this show so much, I've admired various casts around the world and the

innovative ways in which different directors have brought new insights to the piece.


But none have been as exciting or as effective as is this production in a tiny theater and with a small cast headed by the brilliant Jarrod Emick and the equally brilliant Jennie May Donnell.


Jarrod Emick presents the most human of all Sweeney's and yet at the same time the most harrowing, sinister, and terrifying. Already acknowledged for many years as a Tony-winning Broadway leading man superstar, Emick was able to bring a new depth and vulnerability to the title role which previously had never emerged quite so vividly.


Emick's "Sweeney" was more than a man rendered mad by circumstances and need for revenge, he was a deeply scarred and ultimately heroic tragic figure with whom you came to empathize even as he terrorized you.

Jennie May Donnell as "Mrs. Lovett" matched Jarrod Emick's Sweeney with equal depth and dexterity (not an easy task).                                     She found more than just the humor in the character (such humor has also been captured by such actresses as Angela Lansbury, Dorothy Loudon, Patti LuPone and so many of the other Mrs. Lovetts through the years).


While rollickingly funny in the role (probably the most hilarious portrayal of this role ever), in addition, Miss Donnell also found an underlying sensuality that went beyond just flirtatiousness - and this matched the decidedly repressed sexuality of Jarrod Emick's "Sweeney".


Usually, Sweeney Todd has a coquettish Mrs. Lovett coupled with an almost oblivious Sweeney...but the chemical charge between these two actors went far beyond that surface interpretation to probe the subtext of a complex relationship which involved more than just expediency and complementary motives. Never having seen quite so many different aspects to the two characters before, I would certainly have to conclude that these two actors - Ms. Donnell and Mr. Emick - are responsible for the new and moving acting choices.


The choices made by Jennie May Donnell were sometimes surprising, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes simply amazing... but always appropriate and inspired. With just a simple look or the slightest use of body language; she can convey a whole story.


If you think you know Mrs. Lovett, well you don't --- until you've seen her played by Jennie May Donnell.


If Sweeney Todd (for all its inherent innovativeness) can sometimes seem almost cartoon­ish and too over-the-top in its approach, this time - with a talented cast headed by Jennie May Donnell and Jarrod Emick under the direction of Kingsbury - the show doesn't fall into this trap. Being able to deliver so many subtle levels of characterization in such a small performance space in which the actors are almost always right in the face - if not the lap - of the audience, is no small testimony to the acting brilliance of Emick and Donnell. Rarely has acting of this caliber been seen even in as arresting a piece as Sweeney Todd.


The terror is still all there...your blood runs cold time and time again during the show...but more than just being a terrifying team in these roles, Emick and Donnell had magical chemistry which made them all the more human and mesmerizing. You simply could not take your eyes off either of them.


Without the massive foundry set of the original Broadway production (nor the large orchestra & cast which usually accompany this show), the dramatic elements in this production were stripped down to the bare essentials, allowing the talent of the actors to shine unencumbered and unembellished. Never has a Sweeney Todd been so in-your-face and so immediate. The intimacy of the room coupled with the subtlety of the acting brought the play to life as never before.


And having seen it so many times over the years, to say this is the most thrilling, exciting, and rewarding of ALL Sweeney Todd's is the highest praise I can give it. I am fully convinced that no other production or cast for Sweeney Todd will ever surpass or even come close to matching this one. It is simply definitive!                                       Bravo!...Brava!


Wade Alexander Managing Director ACT Productions

(Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, London)

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