Monday, April 27, 2015

Mamma Mia

"I want the perfect wedding and I want my dad to give me away."

For most brides, this is a requirement. However for Sophie, this is problematic. She doesn't know who is her father. Her mother never married and raised Sophie as a single parent.

Being proactive and wanting perfection on her wedding day, Sophie finds her mother's diary and discovers that there are three men who had relationships with her mother. So which of the three is her father? To be certain, Sophie invites all three to her wedding in the hopes that her mother will reveal the truth, she hopes. Won't her mother be surprised?

Donna Sheridan has fulfilled her lifetime dream. She has built a little hotel on a Greek island. The work is constant but she is doing what she loving and raising her daughter her way.

She is excited for the wedding and is delighted when her two-long time friends arrive. The threesome were part of a girl band years ago. Tanya has done well maintaining her youth by marrying money to support her plastic surgery. Rosie is short and stout and still looking for love.

The day before the wedding these three are reunited. Shockingly, arriving on the island are Donna's three former boyfriends shortly afterwards. They are concerned when they discover that Donna did not write their letter. Sophie did.

So who will walk Sophie down the aisle, Bill, Harry or Sam? Now her mother has to finally reveal the true identity of her father, or does she? As Tanya grasps what is inevitable, she states "I hope it's a wide aisle".

This is the story for Mamma Mia last weekend for five performances at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha. To accompany this awkward situation is the music of ABBA. This group was well-known and loved in the disco era of the 70s and 80s creating a delightfully humorous and light-hearted musical.

The leading roles excelled with ruling the stage while being certain that all cast members were included in the recognition and the spotlight. As Sophie, Chelsea Williams was delightful. Her mother was portrayed by Georgia Kate Haege who was perfect as the mother-of-the-bride. Unquestionably Donna's long-time friends, Rosie portrayed by Sarah Smith and as Tanya, Bailey Purvis were outstanding bringing numerous episodes of laughter. These two characters were the favorites of the audience. All three men, the former boyfriends of Donna, had beautiful tenor voices with each one being very different expressing their individual characters. These parts were played by Andrew Tebo, Michael Colavolpe, and Jeff Drushal.

The sets are fairly simplistic and easily moved for scene changes. Costumes, make-up, and hair were very basic but contrasted with the ensemble frequently being very colorful creating additional images and sensations for the audience. All the supporting, back-stage crew made the program completely seamless. The dancing was great with the audience frequently tapping their feet and even at times raising their arms to be included with those on stage. The only problem was the sound system with the band frequently being too loud for the soloists but back to the appropriate levels for the ensembles

Who would most enjoy this musical? By the audience response, middle-aged women. The ABBA songs of the 70s and 80s were obviously known by most of the audience. With the shiny clothes of the disco-era complete with wide-shouldered jackets and platform boots brought numerous laughs along with the shirtless young men, the mostly middle-aged female audience delighted in this fast-paced romantic comedy.

The show is a natural crowd pleaser with a standing ovation and encores. What is unusual is that the encores were actually extensions of the musical with additional costumes and laughter leaving the audience singing "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia" as they exited the theater.

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