Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mamma Mia...That's Some Fun Set to Music!

By Guest Blogger, Ken Grant
Ken Grant has worked in Delaware media, politics and marketing for 25 years. He and his Lovely Bride enjoy Wilmington's arts and culture scene as much as they can.

Lord Byron said, “All tragedies are finished by a death, all comedies are ended by a marriage.”
The US Touring Company of Mamma Mia. Photo provided.
Of course, when your play’s first act is set on the day before the wedding and the second act is set on the wedding day itself and you add in the music of Abba, a cast of vocal and physical acrobats with hundreds of costumes and more than 30,000 rhinestones – then you get a dose of fun that infects The Playhouse on Rodney Square and spills joyously out onto Market Street. Welcome to the traveling production of Broadway's smash, Mamma Mia!

The story centers around several trios of characters – from young Sophie Sheridan (Kyra Belle Johnson) and her friends Ali and Lisa (Kat Borrelli and Christina Eskridge) planning for Sophie’s wedding, to Sophie’s mother Donna (Eris Fish) and her lifelong friends Tanya and Rosie (Laura Michelle Hughes and Sarah Smith) still struggling to figure out how to have a successful relationship. Then, there’s the three men from Donna’s past – Sam, Bill, and Harry (Chad W. Fornwalt, Ryan M. Hunt and Andrew Tebo) – who are invited to the festivities under false pretenses.

Wedding drama is always fun to watch from the outside – but in this case the drama isn’t created by a young couple unsure about their future, but rather a young bride seeking answers about her past and the generation before working through their various regrets and lingering questions.

All of the performers capture the essence and effervescence of Abba while exposing a deeper layer of emotion (hope, longing, resignation, desire).

You don’t have to be intimately familiar with the music of Abba to be caught up in the fun of this production. For those who grew up with the music, this is a great trip along memory lane; and for those who didn’t, this show could turn them into new fans of the Swedish pop phenomenon.

The staging for this production seems deceptively simple at first, but becomes incredibly versatile as two pieces transform the set from indoor, outdoor, and alleyway locations on a small Greek island.

Make no mistake  this production delivers fun and gets the audience smiling, laughing, clapping, and yes, even dancing.

If you’ve gone to see a blockbuster film in the past few years, you know that you probably shouldn’t leave until all of the credits have run, as more and more movies offer nice little "surprises" at the end. Likewise, do not assume that when the cast offers their bows at the end of this musical that the entertainment is over. Stay where you are and enjoy – you won’t be sorry!

Mamma Mia is playing at The Playhouse on Rodney Square March 4-6.



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