BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! At The Bonstelle Theatre Will Leave You Dancing In Your Seat!
Wayne State University's production of Mamma Mia!, running now through April 14th, will leave you singing and dancing in your seat. Using the songs of Swedish supergroup ABBA, Mamma Mia! follows the life of Sophie Sheridan in the days before her wedding in Greece. She wants her father to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. The only problem is she has no idea who her father is. Sophie looks through her mother's old diaries and discovers that her father must be one of three possible men. She invites them all to her big day in an attempt to discover who her real father is. Trouble ensues as these three men all meet for the first time, all thinking they are Sophie's father. Sophie's mother Donna has to live with the daunting reality of her past coming back to haunt her on her daughter's big day. Wayne State's production of this jukebox musical is exhilarating, upbeat, and energetic.
Performing a jukebox musical as well-known as Mamma Mia! is no easy task, especially when you are singing the songs made famous by ABBA. The cast of Wayne State's production does a great job of staging this very popular show. One thing that stuck out to me right from the start was the choreography. Knowing that Mamma Mia! is a very dance-heavy show, I was very pleased to see that this production did not fall short on quality of choreography. The ensemble of the show was able to perform the choreography in the show with a fluidity that was all their own. Though it was different from choreography you would see in a national tour of this show, it was very energetic and fast-paced. Put plainly, Jill Dion's choreography in this show is exceptional and fresh.
I had the opportunity to see Sarah Kmiec (Understudy) play the role of Donna Sheridan, Sophie's mother. Kmiec succeeded in making this role all her own. Dealing with the stress of all of these past men coming back into her life, Kmiec is able to express the frustration and worry that Donna feels throughout the show. Being a mother who has raised Sophie by herself, she is a strong and independent woman who loves her daughter. That love for Sophie is displayed on multiple occasions through Kmiec's bold acting choices and mannerisms onstage. In addition, her voice perfectly fit the soft ambiance of ABBA's music. This was most exemplified during her incredible rendition of "The Winner Takes It All".
Another standout in the show was Laura Moore playing the role of Tanya, one of Donna's closes friends. Moore played the role with an energy that made her standout among a large cast. Moore's energy and enthusiasm in every line she delivers truly makes her character. She delivers her lines with phenomenal diction, and her voice is exceptional.
The ensemble in the show does an excellent job pulling the entire show together. The singing by the ensemble is great, and they are truly able to match the passion and emotion that ABBA put into each of these songs when they wrote them. The ensemble really shines in numbers like "Mamma Mia" and "Money, Money, Money".
Wayne State's production of Mamma Mia! should be seen by anybody who is a fan of the music of ABBA, the musical itself, or is looking for an uplifting and upbeat show to dance to.
Mamma Mia! is directed by Scotty Arnold. The rest of the production team includes Katie Link (Scenic Designer), Mary Copenhagen (Costume Designer), Dan Morency (Lighting Designer), Russell Blain (Sound Designer), Lucy Mott (Properties Master), Jayme Caye Beerling (Stage Manager), Danielle M. Wright (Vocal Director), and Rachael L. Rose (Music Director).
Mamma Mia! is currently running until April 14th at the Bonstelle Theatre in Detroit. Connect with Theatre And Dance at Wayne on Instagram @ theatreanddanceatwayne and on Facebook at facebook.com/TheatreandDanceatWayne/.