Review: MAMMA MIA! Delivers Dynamo Performance at the Ohio Theatre

The 25th Anniversary Tour of MAMMA MIA! blows all expectations out of the Grecian waters!

By: Mar. 18, 2024
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Review: MAMMA MIA! Delivers Dynamo Performance at the Ohio Theatre
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With familiar hits like “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” and “Honey, Honey,” MAMMA MIA! has a leg up on most musicals: audiences already know the songs. But to surmount and overcome the expectations of audiences is no easy feat. The 25th Anniversary Tour of MAMMA MIA! blows all expectations out of the Grecian waters!

Many audiences will be familiar with the narrative of MAMMA MIA! from the 2008 movie musical of the same name starring Meryl Streep (Donna Sheridan), Amanda Seyfried (Sophie), and Pierce Brosnan (Sam Carmichael). 

MAMMA MIA! tells the light-hearted story of Sophie Sheridan (Alisa Melendez) and her quest to find her father - one of three men that she has invited to her nuptials, unbeknownst to her mother, Donna Sheridan (Christine Sherrill). Girl power shines with a “Super Trouper” cast of strong women actresses and the men who support them.

The “auntie” duo of Tanya (Jalynn Steele) and Rosie (Carly Sakolove) are as playful and lively as they were 20 years ago when they formed the trio Donna and the Dynamo. They reunite with Donna for the first time in years to celebrate Sophie’s wedding. All the while, the boys - three former suitors of Donna - find themselves thrown into the action. It's not long before each of the men believe they were invited to the wedding to give Sophie away - as her dad!  

The production is powered by an electric ensemble and the powerhouse records of ABBA. Almost immediately, audience members can be found tapping, singing, and dancing along to the music. In part, this is also due to the excellent casting of the leads. 

Ms. Sherrill’s portrayal of Donna is as quintessential as it is unique. Her vocal and emotional ranges climax with “The Winner Takes It All,” where she takes audiences to a place of tremendous love and heartbreak. Her sorrows are reflected in the tears of audience members who understand lost love, risks and rewards, and the scheming fates. A raucous round of applause roared through the theater at the end of this number. 

The applause did not stop there. Ms. Melendez’s spunky and headstrong portrayal of Sophie elicits laughs, smiles, and smirks from audience members of all ages. Her youthful naivete offers a glimpse into what her mother may have been like at her age. This, along with a comedic script and punchlines, makes the show timeless and enjoyable for all ages.

What the production lacks in sets is easily made up for in costumes. Most of the show utilizes the same two whitewashed walls, reminiscent of classic Grecian and Mediterranean architecture, but the walls don’t move the show along: the actors do, and their costumes do much for the story. Everything from beautiful, shimmering, platform boots to wetsuits and fins adorn the cast and add a beautiful layer to the tale.

A visually and vocally beautiful musical about love, opportunities, and fate, MAMMA MIA! is a joy and a treat to all who can experience it. Other touring companies take note: this production of MAMMA MIA! is the gold standard. To put it simply: “Thank you for the Music.” 

MAMMA MIA! remains in Columbus through the weekend and travels to Madison, WI for shows at the Overture Center from March 19-24.

Photo by: Joan Marcus


 




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