BWW Interview: Mary Mattison of North Carolina Theatre's MAMMA MIA!
From February 12th-17th, North Carolina Theatre will be presenting a production of the long-running hit jukebox musical, Mamma Mia!, at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. I was recently able to get in touch with actress Mary Mattison, who stars as Sophie Sheridan.
Mary was born and raised in North Carolina and is a graduate of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in acting. Her previous credits include Theatre Raleigh's productions of Violet (Young Vi), August: Osage County (Jean Fordham); NCT's production of Gypsy (Louise); and will next be seen as Sandy Dumbrowski in Casa Mañana's upcoming production of Grease in Fort Worth, Texas next month.
To start things off, how are rehearsals going?
So exciting! Working at NC Theatre is such a joy.
Would you mind telling us about the character you play.
Sophie sets the whole plot in motion when she invites her three possible dads to her wedding. She is determined, spunky, and incredibly brave. She knows what she wants and she goes for it, no matter how afraid of failure she may be.
The music of ABBA has been around for almost 50 years. How familiar were you with their work prior to this?
Well, I knew 'Dancing Queen' and 'Mamma Mia' of course, but other than that the music was new to me! Now, I can't believe I ever lived my life without ABBA.
What would you say are your favorite ABBA song that is in the show?
My favorite song in the show is 'Name of the Game'. I love how simple and vulnerable it is.
Let's talk about your director, Eric Woodall. You've worked with him three times before. He previously worked as a casting director for nearly every major North American company of Mamma Mia! for years. Not to mention that he also recently took over as the producing artistic director for North Carolina Theatre. What is Eric like to work with?
Eric is a dream to work with. He has impeccable taste, he's kind, and he truly is an actor's director. He brings so much heart and depth to every show he directs. I trust him completely.
It's also worth noting that the first two times you've worked with Eric, they were for productions at Theatre Raleigh featuring Lauren Kennedy. In Violet, you played the younger version of Lauren's character. In August: Osage County, the two of you played relatives. Now, you're both playing mother and daughter in Mamma Mia!. What do you like about getting to work with Lauren Kennedy?
Lauren is so much fun to watch in rehearsals. She is such a free and instinctive actress. It's inspiring to watch her play and bring a fresh point of view to the show every day. She's also hysterical, she makes the whole room laugh!
I got to see you play Louise in NCT's production of Gypsy (also directed by Eric Woodall) last season. I thought you gave a terrific performance in that role which in my opinion has one of the best character arcs ever written for a musical. Your big Act II number, 'Let Me Entertain You', I thought was definitely a perfect example of that as we the audience got to watch Louise grow from a shy girl who's very reluctant to perform, to a more confident performer as the song went on. What was your favorite part of that whole experience?
Thank you so much! I think you answered that for me! The character and the journey I got to take with her was a challenge and a thrill. Not to mention those dresses!
I saw that you've also got to be a part of readings for two new musicals. Clueless, which was just Off-Broadway, and Superhero (with Kelli O'Hara), which is getting ready to debut at Second Stage Theater in New York.
Clueless was one of my favorite movies growing up and it was exciting to play such an iconic character. Kelli O'Hara and Tom Kitt are two artists I had always obsessed over. Getting to work with them was surreal and everything I ever dreamed! It was an honor to be a part of the process in creating those musicals.
Moving forward, what are some dream roles you'd love to pursue in the future?
I would love to play Julie Jordan in Carousel, Julie in Miss Julie, Sally Bowles in Cabaret...and can I play Louise again?
In conclusion, why should audiences come to see North Carolina Theatre's production of Mamma Mia!?
You will cry, you will laugh, and you will have the time of your life! This show is one big celebration of women, friendship, the family you are given, and the family you choose.
Mary, I thank you very much for devoting your time to this interview, and I hope you break a leg with this production!
Be sure to catch North Carolina Theatre's production of Mamma Mia! at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium from February 12th-17th. For more information, please visit: