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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Laberge

Mamma Mia brings the summer heat

You might not have much reason for your disco pants these days, but ABBA's Mamma Mia is reason enough to dust off your go-go boots and let out your dancing queen. The exuberant show takes a new meaning on Lake Country Playhouse's stage: this time, it feels like you're invited to the party. Jeff Anderson's direction has theatre patrons singing, clapping, and step-touching in the aisles.

Harry (Jim Halverson), Sophie (Courtney Denzer), Bill (Marty Graffenius), and Sam (Joe Nolan).

This beloved jukebox musical follows the days preceding Sophie's wedding. Unbeknownst to others, Sophie has secretly read through her mother's old diary and invited three special guests to the wedding. Their only commonality? One of them is Sophie's father.

Halverson, Satchell, Graffenius, and Nolan.

Amanda Satchell plays Donna Sheridan, the strong-willed woman singlehandedly running the business, the wedding, and of course raising her daughter Sophie. She begins with a tough exterior paired with chesty vocals. As her story unfolds, she sheds her defense mechanisms and gives an intimate and vulnerable performance, raw with emotional power. The theatre swells as Satchell delivers "The Winner Takes It All". James Skiba brings Anderson's vision to fruition with his multitalented hand on the piece. Skiba's technical direction bears scenic, sound, and lighting designs that are each as vibrant as the stories they highlight.

Tanya (Rebecca Schilling), Rosie (Beth Blanck), Satchell, and ensemble.

Upon entering the theatre, patrons enter a stunning Greek hotel. Pink blossoms creep over the sandy stone arches and into the horizon, overlooking the waters. Terri Field's scenic painting is vivid - it resembles the much coveted destinations on travel postcards. Then, with a sudden burst of life, the cast of 28 fills the stage and the walls open to reveal an idyllic beachside getaway. Skiba's use of angled spaces and asymmetry seemingly doubles the limited stage space, easily accommodating the large ensemble and leaving comfortable room for dancing.

Schilling, Satchell, and Blanck.

Choreographer Parker Cristan's work is a real treat. A blend of sweet and sultry, Cristan's dances feature the best in each actor. Particularly notable is the boogie trio Donna and the Dynamos, the three friends recalling their girl group moves from twenty years prior.

Following the 2018 movie release of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, fans of ABBA and the original film are hankering for more of the 70s tunes. Packed with uplifting energy and uproarious comedy, Anderson's LCP production fulfills that need and more - it illuminates themes of female strength and the meaning of family. The show closes its' entirely sold out run on May 19th.


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