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It began as an idea. And it’s on its way to an Emmy.
“It” is a new show called Donna On The Go created by Peggy Lane about her friend Donna Russo. It is unique and quite charming. I had a chance to see it recently and fell in love with it.
In a world of copycat ideas, cop shows and behind the scene shows masquerading as actual shows, comes this show – a real show, which is actually about something.
When Executive Producer and Director Peggy Lane met Donna Russo a little over a year ago it never occurred to her that one day she would create a show about her. She was just looking for a roommate.
Donna was born with Turner Syndrome and now has adult onset FSH Muscular Dystrophy and uses a walker and sometimes a wheelchair. When Peggy saw how much effort even the simplest things took her, she says her “heart went out to her.” No stranger to wheelchairs Lane went through this with both her parents. She had some experience with challenges too.
One thing that differed was that Russo is a dancer and “once a dancer, always a dancer.”
Russo attends wheelchair dancing classes and is an ambassador for the Abilities Expo for the last 2 years. She and choreographer Tam Warner did a beautiful dance for it called “I Won’t Give Up.” It is on You Tube and has been seen by over 50,000 viewers.
Tam Warner also created the dance seen in the episode of Donna On The Go called “Performance.” It was presented as a workshop for the Abilities Expo here in Los Angeles. Lane was inspired by this. No newcomer to creating she has over 30 Producer credits including films that have qualified for an Academy Award and gone to Cannes. She created Donna On The Go after going with Donna to a Target store and seeing all the challenges with the scooter and reaching the shelves. Yet they were both laughing. Lane decided the time was right to do a show about this – the light side of challenges.
One episode deals with the challenges of a handicapped ramp, another with a broken elevator and how to get down to the underground parking. It is clever and sweet and most of all, it is funny. Lane captures a tone that is delicate, honest but not brutal, sweet but not saccharine, and most of all hopeful.
Their season finale called simply “Performance” is moving and a tribute to the woman Lane calls inspiring – Donna Russo.
Don’t miss this show – it is up for an Emmy in the Outstanding Short Form Non Fiction category.
It is truly original.
It is available to Emmy viewers on the EMMY For Your Consideration site.
It is available to everyone on the Official Donna-On-The-Go website.
Terri Jones Carnegie Mellon