MAMMA MIA! will make its LaComedia debut this fall! Now it's your turn to experience the mega-hit musical that has thrilled 54 million people worldwide.
I went into Mamma Mia! blindly, not knowing anything about it, other than the music is from the 1970’s group, ABBA. Since I couldn’t name a single ABBA song, that wasn’t a very big selling point for me. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but left feeling as if I’d witnessed one of the best productions that La Comedia has ever presented. From the music, to the set design, and excellent cast (plus the buffet) every aspect is perfect. Now I wish that I had ABBA on some vinyl, or at least iTunes. Instead, maybe I’ll just go see Mamma Mia! again, and get some more sweet potato soufflé while I’m there.
A mystery that has plagued Sophie her whole life is the identity of her father. After snooping in her mother’s diary, and reading all the…dirty details, she narrowed the possible culprits down to three men. With her wedding day nearing, Sophie secretly invites all three guys in hopes of discovering which one is her father. They are each totally clueless of the situation they entered themselves into, with no thoughts of possibly having an offspring on the Greek island.
There are many accolades to shower upon the cast, beginning with Erica Lynn Bridge as Sophie. Bridge’s beauty is endearing and mesmerizing, just like her voice. Her name is fitting, as with her charismatic charm, Bridge carries the audience from beginning to end. However, my attempt at a bridge metaphor takes nothing away from the strength of the performance given by Becky Barrett-Jones as Donna. Donna is Sophie’s beleaguered mother, who is torn by the surprise arrival of the three men from her past. Jones’ last name could be rocket ship as it soars to levels that are out of this hemisphere. She sings more hits in two acts than McGregor landed on Mayweather in 10 rounds. Her biggest knockout punch was her rendition of ‘The Winner Takes it All.’
The trio of possible sperm donors includes the crown jewel of La Comedia, Mr. Dependable, Chris Kramer as Sam. Kramer excels in any role he’s given, including this one. Sam is a sly, architect with a deep love for Donna, while Harry is a refined, straight-laced Englishmen perfectly played by Olin Davidson. From the accent to his mannerisms, Davidson totally embodies the part. Then there is the traveling writer, the adventuresome Bill (Patrick Phillip Becker), who shines in one of the most comedic scenes.
Also in town for the wedding are Donna’s closest friends, Tanya and Rosie. Together the three of them once made up the singing group Donna and the Dynamos. On a trip down memory lane they perform a rousing rendition of ‘Dancing Queen,’ which is worth bowing for. It's musical excellence is matched by amusing choreography, making it a real standout moment. Tanya is the seasoned vixen type that Karie-Lee Sutherland was born to play, oozing with the sex appeal left from her youth. Sutherland has a very demanding stage presence, at least for my two eyes. My attention though also never wavered from Rosie (Britte Steele), whose fun loving personality radiates from the stage. Her humor with both dialogue and physical comedy is top notch. In my opinion, Steele is a scene stealer and an audience favorite.
The high level of excellence is shared throughout the entire cast, as everyone plays their part to the utmost perfection. The set is also superb, as changes are quickly made without any long delays in the action. Every aspect of Mamma Mia! is great, which makes it one of the best shows ever seen at La Comedia.
Don’t miss Mamma Mia! and get the answers to questions such as, Will Sophie’s father be found out? Will there be a shotgun wedding? The planned nuptials do start with a …. Bang! Is this the best show you have ever seen at La Comedia? Mamma Mia! continues through October 28.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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