MAMMA MIA! is your mamma’s musical and probably your grandma’s and certainly yours – that’s the brilliance of the show built around the songs of the popular group ABBA. Spanning multiple decades of popularity, the music is the big draw, blending sometimes poignant, sometimes silly lyrics with catchy, ear worm-inducing tunes.
The show has been around so long, the concept isn’t news, nor is the storyline. But in case you missed it, MAMMA MIA! is about a daughter who invites her three potential fathers to her Greek island wedding unbeknownst to her mother, who isn’t so sure who the daddy is herself, the little hussy. Mayhem and lots of song and dance numbers ensue.
The production of MAMMA MIA! currently in town, playing only through Feb. 2 at The Buell Theatre is fun and the capacity crowd certainly enjoyed it. I had a few gripes with it: Daughter Sophie’s friends overact and seem more like 14-year-olds than 20-year-olds. Thankfully, we don’t have to hear from them much at all. There is a lot of groping, grinding and fondling going on which isn’t a problem except for all of the kids in the audience. Just keep that in mind before deciding who to take to the show. And lastly, the overall energy and cohesiveness of this ensemble just seemed a little lacking compared to previous productions I’ve seen in which the chemistry between all was palpable and added to the whole experience.
MAMMA MIA! is really a story about the strength of women and their capacity to love. It’s fitting, then, that the four lead women (Georgia Kate Haege as Donna; Chelsea Williams as Sophie; Gabrielle Mirabella as Tanya and Carly Sakolove as Rosie), were the strongest actors and singers in the show.
Along with some heart-wrenching songs, there are plenty of fun ones that harken back to the height of ABBA’s popularity in the dance clubs. And the show takes full advantage of it, with wonderfully gawd-awful spandex numbers and sparkly platform shoes.
Between the keep-em-guessing storyline, great music, costumes, humor and romance of the show, it’s no wonder MAMMA MIA! audiences inevitably end the evening on their feet, shaking their groove things and waving their arms. It warmed my live-theater-loving heart to see.
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