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BWW Exclusive Interview: Louise Pitre talks MAMMA MIA! Reunion to Benefit Fife House

BWW Exclusive Interview: Louise Pitre talks MAMMA MIA! Reunion to Benefit Fife House

This upcoming Monday get ready to break out your dancing shoes, as cast members from the Original Toronto Production of MAMMA MIA! reunite for a one-night only benefit in support of FIFE HOUSE. They are a not for profit organization that seeks to provide secure and affordable supportive housing and support services for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

The event will feature none other than Louise Pitre in the lead role of 'Donna', one in which she originated here in Toronto and then later took to the Great White Way. She will be joined by a group of her fellow castmates to celebrate the music of ABBA and the success of MAMMA MIA, as well as to raise a toast to the great work that FIFE HOUSE does in our community. Joining her will be Adam Brazier (Sky), Gabrielle Jones (Rosie), David Keeley (Sam), Julie Martell (Sophie), Tamara Bernier (Tanya) and Shawn Wright (Bill).

BWW sat down to talk to Louise about the special evening, her history with MAMMA MIA and what she's most looking forward to next!

First of all, tell us a bit about what this reunion will entail? Who's joining you and will you be singing the entire score?

I don't know too much at this point, but I do know that we will be singing the score with music stands. I think we're going to sing all the songs and tell the stories in between. Joining me are Adam Brazier, Gabrielle Jones, David Keeley, Julie Martell, Tamara Bernier, Shawn Wright and probably more!

Are you excited to be stepping back into Donna's shoes again? Any trepidation?

No trepidation at all. This is a nice 'take a look back' kind of performance. It'll feel like looking back through an old photo album!

You had quite the run with Mamma Mia, originating the role in Toronto and then bringing it to Broadway. If you had to, could you pick a highlight from all of that time? A favourite memory?

I think opening night on Broadway! I took my solo bow and then suddenly realized I had just done that thing I had always dreamed of doing. So I stepped centre stage all alone, fell to my knees and smacked the floor and kissed it! I hurt my hand hitting the floor so hard but I didn't even care. I had walked the boards as a lead on Broadway!

Were you an ABBA fan before you did the show? Did doing the show change your perspective on them as a band or their music?

I was not a fan of the ABBA repertoire as much as I was a fan of CHESS! I loved them for that! I knew the old songs of ABBA but didn't own those albums back then. I grew to appreciate just how smart those songs were and why they're still so appealing.

Did you watch the movie? I would imagine it would be pretty surreal watching Meryl Streep tackle a role you originated...

Yes it was indeed surreal. They invited me to the opening night of the movie in New York City. I met Meryl Streep outside before going in and she actually looked at the photographers and said 'this is the real Donna!!!'. I couldn't believe it! She had seen the show twice when I was doing it and wrote a beautiful letter to the cast. She is very gracious. It was surreal watching the movie because it was so damn close to the stage show. I was reliving the whole thing as I was watching it. I liked her abandon in the part and I'm a huge fan of hers.

Did you have a favourite song in the show? Or conversely, was there one you dreaded doing every night or found particularly tough?

'Slipping Through My Fingers' was my favourite part of the show because it was the most touching scene to me . 'Winner Takes it All' was of course the big song for me but when my voice was tired, it was definitely the one that I dreaded.

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Kelly Cameron Kelly Cameron's love affair with the theatre began when she was just five years old, on an outing to see the Original Canadian Cast of Les Miserables at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. She instantly fell in love, and is honoured to be representing the Toronto contingent of BroadwayWorld as Senior Editor overseeing the GTA region.

Her writing career started almost by accident, though it has always been in her blood as her Mom was an English teacher who firmly believed in the importance of being able to turn a phrase. She also loved sharing her love of theatre with her students (and her children), and was a staunch supporter of the arts in Toronto.

When not at the theatre, you can usually find Kelly with a Starbucks in one hand and her BlackBerry in the other, tweeting, reading or doing something quirky and clumsy for the sake of getting that next big story.

She's incredibly grateful to the amazing Toronto theatre community who have embraced her with open arms, giving her the greatest gift a little redheaded theatre geek could ever ask for - getting to be a part of this vibrant arts and culture scene. She may have never had the skills to be on the stage, but is thankful every day she gets to write about the inspiring people who do.

Headshot photo by Racheal McCaig www.rachealmccaigphotography.com