REVIEW — The Stage Door has brought the smash hit musical “Mamma Mia!” to St. George, and its hilarious hijinks inspired by and set to the music of ABBA are sure to have audiences tapping their toes.
With only four chances left to catch this production, it is time to dance on over to the Electric Theater and get a seat to the hottest show in town featuring songs like “Mamma Mia,” “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “SOS,” “Voulez-Vous” and more.
Set on a small island in Greece, “Mamma Mia!” tells the story of a young woman named Sophie who is about to get married. Sophie was raised by her single mother and former party girl and singer, Donna, who never shared much with her daughter about her past.
As the wedding approaches, Sophie decides to do some digging into her mother’s life and discovers that she has three possible fathers. To that end, she sends each man a letter written “from her mother,” inviting them to her wedding in hopes that she will know which one is her father when he arrives.
When all three men show up on the little Greek island one day before the wedding, a lot of comedy and a little romance ensues. The chaos is bolstered by Donna’s old friends and former backup singers Rosie and Tanya as they all get entangled in the mystery of who Sophie’s father is.
To buy into the story, let alone the fact that there could exist a musical based on the songs of ABBA, takes a bit of suspended belief, but once you accept the premise, The Stage Door’s brilliant cast and crew sweep you up in the catchy tunes and intriguing comedy of the whole show.
The Stage Door’s production is a wildly colorful version of the popular show which has garnered over $4 billion worldwide since it debuted on stage in 1999.
As soon as audiences enter the Electric Theater, the stage is set to transport them to a little taverna on a small Greek island. The stage space at the Electric Theater is small and the backstage space even smaller, and yet the sets are big, bold and beautiful and the entire cast is able to adeptly manipulate the changing scenes.
One might think with such a small space to work with, the cast would be small, but The Stage Door’s production has a large ensemble that fills the stage to the brim with vibrant energy when they are on and adds beautiful harmonies to the songs from backstage as well.
It is a credit to director Heidi Anderson that the large cast doesn’t overwhelm the production but rather brings to life the excitement one would expect at a wedding.
The male ensemble is particularly enjoyable and talented in this production. Highlights include several of the men attempting to court Donna’s backup singer Tanya, and throwing Sophie’s fiancé Sky, played by Ivan Odom, a hilarious bachelor party which showcases their physicality as they dance while wearing swimming flippers.
The show is led by impressive performances from Cathy Wilcken Ford (Donna), Kimberly Beatty (Tanya), Del Beatty (Sam), Kelly Olsen (Harry) and Brad Christensen (Bill) all of who have moments on the stage that are both incredibly funny and often touching.
But it is Barb Christensen (Rosie) and Katie Gardner (Sophie) who steal the show. Christensen for her flawless timing and unparalleled physical comedy and Gardner who, although only in high school, has the most knock-your-socks-off powerhouse vocals of the entire cast.
Ultimately, “Mamma Mia!” is an incredibly fun show about love and family that is full of laughter and catchy tunes that will leave audiences with a smile on their face.
Though for the most part, the show is family-friendly, there are some adult themes, including sexual innuendo and curse words. Parents should probably leave very young and less mature children home.
The parts of Sophie, Tanya and Sky are double cast with Lainee Marie McDonald playing Sophie, Christine Haynie France playing Tanya and Mason Stevens playing Sky on alternating performances.
“Mamma Mia!” plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
- What: The Stage Door’s production of “Mamma Mia!”
- When: Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 27-29, 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee 2 p.m.
- Where: The Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle, St. George.
- Cost: $17-$21.
- Purchase tickets: Online or at the door.
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