Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: MAMMA MIA! at Fairfield Center Stage

Featuring Swedish Group Abba's Music

Review: MAMMA MIA! at Fairfield Center Stage

On Friday, October 15, I had the pleasure of seeing yet another phenomenal production by Fairfield Center Stage, an innovative theatre company that continues to go that extra mile to bring the audience fresh new experiences with familiar shows that Fairfield Center Stage brings to life in positive ways that the audience has never seen before. Here we go, again, with MAMMA MIA!, which is written by Catherine Johnson, based on the Swedish group Abba's songs that were written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Performed outdoors on the back lawn of the Scandinavian Club, in Fairfield, CT, the venue fits the show perfectly! With the help of the strong skills of choreographer Kelsey Kaminski, executive producer Eli Newsom and artistic director Christy McIntosh-Newsom bring out the best in this outstanding cast of talented actors and actresses who have tremendous stage chemistry with each other. The cast members all shine forth with positive energy that radiates outwards through the audience, creating a positive vibe that enhances the audience's enjoyment of this production, seeing how much the performers are clearly enjoying their roles.

A talented live band led by musical director Jackie Martino, who also plays keyboards, provides moving accompaniment. Clay Zambo is also on keyboards, with Charles Casimiro on bass and Gabe Nappi on drums. The band's highlight is a face-melting guitar solo, at the end of S.O.S., performed by lead guitarist Michael Mosca.

The ensemble members enhance this production tremendously with their dancing and backing vocals. They all appear to tremendously enjoy contributing their talents to this show. Ensemble members include Jennifer Faccenda, Bonnie Gregson, James Hisey, Marnie Kruse, John Layseca, Christine Mitchell-Robinson, Ainsley Novin, Sophie Pennock Collins, Lindsey Reuter, Ryan Romero, Emily Seanor, Genevieve Seanor, and Nora Watson. It is clear that, among these ensemble members, Fairfield Center Stage has a large first-rate talent pool to choose from for future productions that require young leads.

Marylin Olsen and Jessica Pescosolido play the mother and daughter leads, Donna and Sophie, respectively. The premise of the story is that Sophie is planning her wedding, and wants to invite her father, who she has never met. She discovers, from her mother's diary, that there are three potential suspects. So, she invites all three men, under a false assumption that she would instantly know who her real father is, when she meets him.

The three father suspects named Sam, Harry, and Bill are performed by Mark Silence, Bill Warncke, and Jeff Fulton, respectively. One of the great things about these characters and the way the story is written is that there is no tone suggesting a clear favorite to the audience, neither in terms of a father for Sophie, nor a potentially rekindled romantic interest for Donna. The central protagonist roles, rather, are clearly those of Donna and Sophie, with the audience rooting for the truth in terms of Sophie's father, and each audience member's own personal preference for who (if any) they want to see Donna end up with.

Monique Castillo and Marcelle Morrisey are entertaining as Sophie's friends Ali and Lisa, respectively. Their interactions with Jessica Pescosolido and with each other genuinely come across as authentic friendship, as they all totally sell every line, action, and interaction.

Carolyn Reeves and Shannon Grumet likewise gel flawlessly with Marylin Olsen as Donna's friends Tanya and Rosie, respectively. The dynamics between these three characters mirror those between Sophie and her friends, showing that the connection between the mother and daughter extends to their interactions with their friends.

Sky, who is Sophie's fiancé, is brought to life by Sean Davis who brings an authenticity to the tone and cadence of his lines.

Other standout roles include Erick Sanchez Gomez and Bobby Henry as Eddie, and Pepper, respectively, both employees of Donna. The best comedic moments involve them, the comedic highlight being their initial interaction with each other, brilliantly performed.

My favorite musical number in this production is the ensemble number "Gimme Gimme Gimme." The band provides the moving melody while Sophie, Ali, Lisa, and the ensemble girls sing and dance. The tone fits just right as the number is smoothly interjected three times with dialogue involving Sophie, and individually with each of the three father suspects, the moment where each of them suddenly get the revelation of being Sophie's father.

For mature audiences, I highly recommend MAMMA MIA! Fairfield Center Stage plans to continue to run this show through October 24, 2021. For times and tickets, please go to Tickets.


BroadwayWorld Logo Vote Now for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Connecticut Awards
Vote Nowvoting ends in



Playhouse On Parks 14th Main Stage Season Continues With Paula Vogels INDECENT Photo
INDECENT by Paula Vogel will run at Playhouse on Park January 25 - February 26, 2023. This production will be directed by Kelly O'Donnell, with music direction by Alexander Sovronsky and choreography by Katie Stevinson-Nollet.

MISERY Comes to Nancy Marine Studio Theatre in February 2023 Photo
The Warner Theatre will present MISERY by William Goodman (based on the novel by Stephen King) in the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre February 4 - 12, 2023! Stage @ the Warner 2023 Studio Theatre productions are sponsored by Northwest Community Bank.

Video: First Look at CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT World Premiere at Goodspeed Musicals Photo
Get a first look at the world premiere of Christmas in Connecticut - A New Musical, running now through December 30 at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn.

National Theatre and Met Opera Come to the Ridgefield Playhouse This Month Photo
Get ready for back-to-back nights of great opera and theater on the big screen! The Met Opera and National Theatre of London's seasons continue to be broadcast at The Ridgefield Playhouse as part of the FirstLight Home Care Classical Series.


From This Author - Sean Fallon


Review: EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD at Castle Craig PlayersReview: EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD at Castle Craig Players
December 4, 2022

On Saturday, December 3, 2022, I had the pleasure of seeing EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD, which is easily the funniest stage comedy I have seen in the last three years!  It is yet another first-rate Christmas comedy production performed by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT.  EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD is a hilarious satirical farce written by Michael Carleton, James Fitzgerald, and John K. Alvarez.  It is brilliantly directed by Bobby and Carleigh Schultz.  It stars the highly talented trio of Chris Brooks, Rick Bennett, and Bobby Schultz. 

Review: CALIFORNIA SUITE at Castle Craig PlayersReview: CALIFORNIA SUITE at Castle Craig Players
October 16, 2022

On Saturday, October 15, 2022, I had the pleasure of seeing Neil Simon’s CALIFORNIA SUITE as performed by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT. CALIFORNIA SUITE is different from a typical Neil Simon play in that rather than being one continuous story, it is four separate playlets that have three things in common: location, location, and location. Some audience members may be familiar with this concept in that it was used in A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room. In CALIFORNIA SUITE, the location is not a dining room, but in Suite 203 & 204 in the Beverly Hills Hotel, a hotel that incidentally has lousy room service, but an entertaining cleaning staff.

Review: THE EXONERATED at Ridgefield Theater BarnReview: THE EXONERATED at Ridgefield Theater Barn
September 8, 2022

On Thursday, September 8th, I had the pleasure of seeing THE EXONERATED at The Ridgefield Theater Barn, in Ridgefield, CT.  This show is amazing, based on true stories, and sends some deeply impacting messages that touch the emotions to the core, in a good way. It opens awareness in the minds of the audience, about things not always being as they seem, and people not always being who they may appear to be.

Review: CLUE at Castle Craig PlayersReview: CLUE at Castle Craig Players
July 31, 2022

The Castle Craig Players have done it, with a first-rate cast, in Meriden, CT! On Saturday, July 30th, I had the pleasure of seeing a show that I had been looking forward to ever since it was first announced. As someone who has been a fan of the board game Clue since 1985, Clue the movie since 1986, and even Clue the VCR game, several years later, I was very excited to see CLUE, the play, as performed by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT. The play is by Sandy Rustin, Hunter Foster, and Eric Price, based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn. Under the wonderful direction of Ian Galligan, the Castle Craig Players have successfully put on yet another phenomenal production that combines comedy with murder mystery!

Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Musicals At RichterReview: THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Musicals At Richter
July 24, 2022

On Saturday, July 23rd, I had the pleasure of seeing a truly first-rate production, a phenomenal performance of one of the greatest musicals ever written!  Musicals at Richter, in Danbury, continues with their legacy of providing audiences what we yearn for in live theater, the right shows with the right cast.  Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE SOUND OF MUSIC was the perfect show to see outdoors on this lovely July night. Under the excellent direction of Jessica Smith, musical direction of Adam Snyder, and choreography of Lindsay Miller, this stellar cast truly made the hills come alive, on this new stage featuring a stunning set designed by John McMahon, complete with moveable pieces. The cast members radiate positive energy from the stage, truly entertaining the audience, and having fun playing their roles!