Review: MAMMA MIA at New Theatre Restaurant

GYPSY Comes to Music Theater Heritage in JuneDonna Sheridan (Shanna Jones) was the lead singer in one of the early female power trios, "Donna and the Dynamos," back in the summers of love period in the late 1960s. She found the love of her life, Sam Carmichael (John Franklin), and lost him to a previous personal commitment while Donna and her crew performed among the Greek Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. That summer Donna had two rebound relationships with other men. All three relationships were documented in her diary. Donna became pregnant by whom Donna is not sure.

Twenty-one years pass. Donna has grown up. She owns a resort hotel on one of those Greek Islands. She is still attractive, but has eschewed further relationships. Donna has been a great Mom. That pregnancy from a lifetime ago is now a 20-year-old young woman named Sophia (Briana Rapa). Sophia is getting married. She dearly wants her father to walk her down the aisle. Unfortunately, she does not know his identity. GYPSY Comes to Music Theater Heritage in June

Sophia has discovered her Mom's long ago diary and identified three possible candidates to be her Dad. Secretly, she invites all three potential Dads to the wedding. They all accept and arrive within minutes of each other. In addition to Sam, already mentioned, there is Harry (Charles Fugate) a London Banker and Bill (Craig Benton), a world-trotting writer. Also invited are Donna's former bandmates, Rosie (Deb Bluford) and Tanya (Jennifer Mays).

Sophia's secret plan quickly unravels much to Donna's distress.

"Mamma Mia" is one of those shows that is a pleasure to revisit. It features the music of the 70's Swedish Rock Group ABBA. The direction and choreography by Lisa Stevens is beyond reproach. The amount of use they get out of a small stage with multiple drops, rolling platforms, and choreographed prop changes is remarkable. Costumes favorably compare with the West End originals. The live band, hidden under the stage, is top notch. The show ends with a mini-concert of familiar and delightful ABBA hits.

GYPSY Comes to Music Theater Heritage in June

This cast is as good as you are going to find on any stage. In particular, Shanna Jones as Donna is super. She had a great voice and dances right along, but this Kansas City area pro possesses the ability to project remarkable eye content and expression transmission with her fellow actors and the audience. You have to love Briana Rapa as Sophia. Josh Franklin as Sam is excellent. Anthony Sagaria as Sky is a perfect love match for Sophia.

"Mamma Mia" continues at "New Theatre Restaurant through September 23. Tickets are available on their website or by telephone.

Photos are provided by New Theatre Restaurant.


Carlos Lopez, Stacey Harris & More to Star in THE ADDAMS FAMILY at The Arrow Rock Lyce Photo
Carlos Lopez, Stacey Harris & More to Star in THE ADDAMS FAMILY at The Arrow Rock Lyceum

They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious, and spooky. The Addams Family brings the iconic family musically to life at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, June 9-18.

Unicorn Theatres Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin Will Retire In 2024 Photo
Unicorn Theatre's Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin Will Retire In 2024

​​​​​​​ Unicorn Theatre has announced that Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin will retire in June 2024. Levin's departure will culminate a historic run spanning more than four decades at one of Kansas City's landmark theatres, where she gained a regional and national reputation for innovating and bringing to life bold and diverse plays with powerful messages and illuminating people in an empathetic and unique way.

FREAKY FRIDAY to Open Outdoor Season at Theatre In The Park This Summer Photo
FREAKY FRIDAY to Open Outdoor Season at Theatre In The Park This Summer

'Freaky Friday' opens Theatre in the Park's 2023 OUTDOOR season on Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 4. 'Freaky Friday' has four additional performances Wednesday, June 7 through Saturday, June 10.

Review: Cirque du Soleils CORTEO At T-Mobile Center Photo
Review: Cirque du Soleil's CORTEO At T-Mobile Center

If, by chance, you are still looking for something fun to do with your visitors this holiday weekend, I highly recommend Cirque du Soleil’s incredible “Corteo” now playing at the T-Mobile Center. This is family entertainment of the first order; unlike almost anything you will ever have witnessed. It will re-awaken your childhood dream of “running off to join the circus.”

From This Author - Alan Portner

Al Portner is regional editor for Broadway World – Kansas City.  He is a retired career journalist and media executive who has written for publication over more than 40 years. Portner has p... (read more about this author)


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