BWW Review: MAMMA MIA Dances Into Broadway At Music Circus

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA Dances Into Broadway At Music CircusA glorious two hours to lose yourself and revert to your carefree younger years-that is what Mamma Mia! delivers with gusto. It's a sublime soundtrack of the 70's, complete with platform heels and free love. Comprised entirely of songs from the Swedish pop group, ABBA, Mamma Mia! transports you from smoky California directly to the clear, cerulean seas of a fictional Greek island.

On this island, 20-year-old Sophie Sheridan (played by the winsome Francesca Arostegui) is getting ready for her wedding. She has been raised by her mother, Donna (Michelle Dawson), and has decided that she needs to find out who her father is ("I Have a Dream"). Upon finding her mother's diary, she discovers that there are actually three possible candidates for her paternity ("Honey, Honey"). Unbeknownst to Donna, Sophie sends an invitation to the wedding to all three men.

Meanwhile, Donna's backup singers from her heyday (as Donna and the Dynamos) arrive (April Nixon as Tanya and Jodi Kimura as Rosie). Vivacious, take-no-prisoners Tanya and bumbling, comedic Rosie are perfect complements to the slightly rough, independent Donna. Shortly following, the three fathers land on the island at the same time. Sam Carmichael (Eric Kunze), an American architect whose dream it was to run the taverna that Donna brought to fruition; Bill Austin (Eric Petersen), the Australian writer and explorer whose great-aunt is who Sophie is named for; and Harry Bright (Trey Ellett), a British rocker-turned-banker. When Donna discovers that all of her ghosts of summer past are in front of her, she panics ("Mamma Mia") and retreats to her room, where Tanya and Rosie are there to comfort her ("Chiquitita" and "Dancing Queen").

The story unfolds as expected, with old wounds exposed, revelations made, and healing started. The difference is that this is set to music that never loses its energy or relevance. The lyrics are timeless and the book is one of the funniest I've seen. Numbers such as "Lay All Your Love on Me", with its shockingly creative choreography, made the audience roar with hilarity. The two trios of Team Donna and Team Dads each had a special symbiotic relationship with flawless cohesion that belies the short run of the show. Dawson, Nixon, and Kimura each have numbers that showcase their individual strengths and experience (really, Kimura steals the show with "Take a Chance on Me").

Mamma Mia! is pure energy and fun. It's an escape to a disco in the round with characters that are flawed enough to be your best friends, from the overture right up until the not-to-be-missed finale. "Thank You for the Music," Broadway at Music Circus. There is everything to love about Mamma Mia!

Tickets for Mamma Mia! start at $45, and availability is extremely limited due to high demand. For best availability call or visit the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street in Sacramento, (916) 557-1999. Tickets may also be available online at www.Tickets.com. Evening performances are Tuesday through Saturday, August 7-11, at 7:30 p.m.; matinee performances are Thursday, August 9 and Saturday, August 11 at 2:00 p.m., and Sunday, August 12 and 3:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.BroadwaySacramento.com.

Photo Credit: Charr Crail

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