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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Alisa Melendez (Sophie Sheridan), and the Company of MAMMA MIA! 25th Anniversary Tour Photo by Joan Marcus

Experiencing the magic of ABBA: A review of ‘Mamma Mia!’

A comprehensive review of the timeless musical experience.

For more than two decades, “Mamma Mia!” has brought joy and nostalgia to the stage. The smash-hit musical combines ABBA’s timeless music with a heartwarming story of love and self-discovery. 

The rising curtains and dimming theater reveal a blue-hued Greek island, setting the stage for the introduction of an entertaining familial and romantic conflict.

Set against the backdrop of an island getaway, “Mamma Mia!” follows Sophie (Alisa Melendez) — a lively young woman engaged to Sky (Grant Reynolds) — who desperately wishes to know the identity of her father. Unbeknownst to her mother, Donna (Christine Sherrill), Sophie invites her three potential fathers to the wedding, leading to a catalyst of hilarious and heartfelt moments.

Through nuanced performances of Sophie’s friends Ali (Haley Wright) and Lisa (L’Oreal Roache) as well as Sky’s friends Pepper (Patrick Park) and Eddie (Louis Griffin), the couple is thrown into many touching and hysterical situations.

Donna’s lifelong friends, the elegant Tanya (Jalynn Steele) and boisterous Rosie (Carly Sakolove), add their unique flair to the stage. Sophie’s potential fathers, Harry Bright (Rob Marnell), Bill Austin (Jim Newman) and Sam Carmichael (Victor Wallace), vitalize the plot with sentimental performances.

“Mamma Mia!” captivates the audience with its flexible two-structured stage setup, allowing for smooth transitions between scenes. 

From the infectious energy of the choreography during “Lay All Your Love On Me” to the nostalgia of “Super Trouper” and “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia!” entices audiences to sing and dance in their seats.

Fans of the 2008 film adaptation may be surprised to hear Sophie sing “The Name of the Game” during her heartfelt moment with Bill. Details like this actively differentiate between the musical and the film.

It’s clear “Mamma Mia!” contains beloved ABBA compositions that can make anyone cry, sing and even jive. Donna’s rendition of “Slipping Through My Fingers” moved many to tears, while the electrifying encore of “Waterloo” left the audience singing along with their arms in the air. The musical was a testament to ABBA’s storytelling power, leaving the audience longing for more after the final curtain.

“Mamma Mia!” is more than just a musical — it’s a brilliant homage to life, love and ABBA. With superb casting led by Sherrill and Melendez, energetic choreography and an unforgettable soundtrack, audiences are sure to be moved by the production’s beautifully interactive world. 

At the end of the musical, Sakolove, whose performance of Rosie was beyond entertaining, explained Broadway's Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS organization and encouraged the audience to donate. The organization provides financial support for those affected by HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other life-threatening illnesses in the United States. 

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