BWW Previews: MAMMA MIA at North Shore Music Theatre

BWW Previews: MAMMA MIA at North Shore Music Theatre

Audiences can expect to have the time of their life at MAMMA MIA! Join Sophie, a 20-year-old bride-to-be, as she searches for her father, who she has never known. After reading her mother's diary, she discovers there are three potential candidates, and unbeknownst to her mother, she invites each of them in hopes of having one of them walk her down the aisle. As the big day draws near, surprises abound for her mother, Donna, with the arrival of old flames and old friends. MAMMA MIA! is packed with 22 of ABBA's greatest hits, including "Dancing Queen," "Super Trouper," "Take A Chance on Me," and "The Winner Takes It All."

NSMT's production of MAMMA MIA! Will be led by Erica Mansfield (Donna Sheridan), along with Tiffani Barbour (Rosie), and Tari Kelly as (Tanya). Erica Mansfield has performed on Broadway in Bandstand, Finding Neverland, Mamma Mia!, On the Town, On the Twentieth Century, Pippin, Evita, and How to Succeed. Tiffani Barbour has appeared on television in "Veep," "The Leftovers," and "Law & Order," and has been seen on stage in New York in Hit the Wall, and Born Blue, and on tour in Mamma Mia! and Fame the Musical. Tari Kelly has appeared on Broadway in Groundhog Day, Something Rotten!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Boy From Oz and Show Boat.

I spoke recently with Ms. Mansfield, a newcomer to NSMT, about her career and having performed in the Broadway production of Mama Mia, as well as the National Tour, and what this musical means to her.

BWW: How did you get started in your musical theatre career?

Ms. Mansfield: I started dancing when I was 5, and then I was in the audience watching shows in Jr. High school and felt I really wanted to do that, be onstage, and I had creative and supportive parents and so I enrolled in HITS Theatre in Houston, Texas for training and performing opportunities. When I was in Eighth grade the high school theatre teacher attended a show and invited me to be in the high school production of 42nd Street, and other shows followed. He was a mentor and fantastic teacher, and I knew by the time I was ready to graduate that performing in musicals was what I wanted to do with my life. I did a season of Summer Stock in Galveston Texas, and then I performed in an educational tour of Cinderella, all over Kansas. After that tour finished, I got on a plane and moved to NYC at 18, lived in a woman's residence with no air conditioning, and started auditioning and training. I then spent a few years paying my dues; performing in dinner theatre, cruise ships, regional theatre, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for four seasons.

BWW: When did you first get a part in Mama Mia and what role did you play?

Ms. Mansfield: After a few years in NYC I booked the "Mama Mia" second National Tour as a swing, covering eight roles. The "Mamma Mia" organization is like a big family and once you are in, opportunities seem to continue to present themselves if you work hard. So I next progressed to the role of "Sophie" understudy, and I was then asked to join the Broadway Company, which I moved in and out of several times, and during that period in my career, I also booked A Chorus Line and performed my dream role of "Cassie".

BWW: What attracted you to the role of "Donna"?

Ms. Mansfield:". After a career as a singer/Donna After playing Sophie years ago, I felt I had enough life experience since then to take on the role. I have a special and close relationship with my own mother, and so I felt I knew how both characters felt about each other and their relationship, and I now felt I had something to bring to the role of "dancer it feels a little strange to not be dancing in every number in the show, but I am really enjoying the challenge and opportunity to play this role at this time in my life.

BWW: What is special or different about NSMT for you?

Ms. Mansfield: I have always wanted to work at NSMT, and after just performing "Donna" at Theatre by the Sea in a proscenium theatre, it is a whole new challenge and a wonderful learning experience to work in the round. I have never had the opportunity to perform a show in the round, and with Kevin's (Director Kevin P. Hill) great direction I am enjoying the challenge and the amazing opportunity, and it is like seeing the musical through a new lens.

BWW: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the NSMT production?

Ms. Mansfield: This cast and creative team are so amazing, it is like a dream to work with them each performance, a truly a magical experience. The story is timeless and I think everyone who sees it can relate to some part of the story whether it is because of family relationships, or life-long friends, of loves lost and regained, there is something for everyone. Finally, I get the chance to be onstage again with my best friend Tiffani Barbour who plays "Rosie" we started together in the "Mamma Mia" tour cast years ago and now are together again.

Rounding out the cast and creative team are:

David Elders(42nd Street, Kiss Me, Kate, Titanic, the Musical, Once Upon A Mattress has been seen on Broadway in the revival of ?David Elder ). Harry Bright (Christopher Carl) and Bill Austin (Al Bundonis) with Sam Carmichael (tarring Sarah Jessica Parker,) Damn Yankees (starring Jerry Lewis), Beauty and the Beast, and Guys and Dolls (starring Nathan Lane and Faith Prince). Al Bundonis has appeared in the U.S. Premiere of Whistle Down the Wind, and New York productions of Ragtime, Sessions, The Last Empress, and Tom Jones). Christopher Carl has played all three dads in the Broadway Company of Mamma Mia! and in Broadway's Tarzan and in the acclaimed Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific.

MAMMA MIA!), Pepper(Cameron Hobbs ), Ali (Thomasina E. Gross, Briana Fallon, Danielle Marie GQ, EJ Dohring, Ashley Chasteen, Victoria Byrd, Jamie Askey, David Aranjo in their North Shore Music Theatre debuts. The cast of 25 also includes Sophie Sheridan) (Malia Monk) and Sky (Nick Walker Jones Will also feature Mary Claire King (Lisa), Daniel Marhelko, Andrew Norlen (Father Alexandrios), Elle May Patterson, Jacob Paulson, Merrill Peiffer, Vinnie Smith (Eddie), and David Visini.

The creative team for MAMMA MIA! will be Kevin P. Hill (Director and Choreographer), Bob Bray (Music Director), Kyle Dixon (Scenic Design), Dana Pinkston (Costume Design), Jose Santiago (Lighting Design), Don Hanna (Sound Design), Gerard Kelly (Wig and Hair Design), Natalie A. Lynch (Production Stage Manager), Dakotah Wiley Horan (Assistant Stage Manager), John Eldridge (Assistant Music Director), Kelly Baker (Costume Coordination) and Briana Fallon (Assistant to the choreographer). MAMMA MIA! is produced for North Shore Music Theatre by Bill Hanney (Owner/Producer), Kevin P. Hill (Producing Artistic Director), and Matthew Chappell (Casting, Interim Associate Producer).

Are priced starting from $59 - $84. Performances are August 7 -September 2, 2018, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat MAMMA MIA!Tickets for and Sun at 2 pm. Kids 18 and under save 50% at all performances. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA. MAMMA MIA! is sponsored by Beverly Bank.

Additional Free Audience Enrichment events: Meet the Theatre: post-show audience discussion with the artists on August 14 after the 7:30 pm performance and August 18 after the 2 pm performance; OUT at the North Shore, an evening for the Gay and Lesbian Community with a post-show reception (sponsored in part by Ryan & Wood Inc.) on August 16 after the 7:30 pm performance.

North Shore Music Theatre will continue the 2018 musical season with Jekyll & Hyde starring Constantine Maroulis and Diana DeGarmo (September 25 - October 7), Hairspray (October 30 - November 11), and the 28th annual production of A Christmas Carol starring David Coffee (December 7 - 23).

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