Mamma Mia! What a show!

REVIEW

A hilarious number from Mamma Mia!

MILT THOMAS

It is estimated that more than 60 million people have seen either the musical Mamma Mia! or the movie version that made over $100 million. The Swedish recording group, ABBA, on whose music the show and movie are based, sold 375 million singles and albums. So what can I say that you don’t already know about this show currently playing at Riverside Theatre?

Based on those statistics, many people have probably seen the show or the movie multiple times. Well, here’s your chance to see it again, up close and personal at Vero’s Riverside Theatre. If you bought any of those 375 million records, you will probably want to hear ABBA’s songs performed live. And if you are not in one of those categories, here’s your opportunity to finally see what all the fuss is about.

Riverside’s production of Mamma Mia! is certainly New York quality with the exquisite singing, dancing, musicianship, stagecraft and sound you would pay New York prices for if it was on Broadway, where it played 14 years.

So here’s a primer for the uninitiated. Mamma Mia! is about a young, single woman, Sophie Sheridan (played by Laura Giknis), who must choose among three male candidates vying to be her….. Wait! Isn’t that a TV show?

Not really. The twist here is that she is trying to determine which of the three is her father. Sophie is getting married on the Greek island of Kalokari, where she and her mother run a small hotel/taverna. The mother, Donna Sheridan (Anne Brummel), moved here over 20 years ago and met the man who made her a mother. It was one of three men with whom Donna had successive affairs and the one responsible for donating the winning “Y” chromosome. However, she never saw any of them again and raised Sophie alone.

Sophie is now getting married and somehow manages to locate all three (on matchKalokari.com no doubt), secretly inviting all three to her wedding. None of them know about the others and her mother knows nothing of this nefarious plan.

Sophie feels she will know instantly which man is her father and he can then walk her down the aisle. Of course, she will not know, nor will her mother. Each of the three men though believe he is her father. Certainly a recipe for mayhem.

Other attendees at the wedding include Sophie’s fiancé, a California surfer type with an appropriately Cal-surf name, Sky (played by a real Sky, Schyler Conaway). He brings several friends of comedic value (especially when they perform a hilarious dance number fitted out with snorkeling gear). Mother Donna invites two of her oldest girlfriends from back in the day when they were a performing trio.

The icing on this cake so to speak is the music – 23 songs by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the “2 B’s” of ABBA. I assume only their most ardent fans know all 23, but everyone knows at least six, and you will know them all by the end of the show. (Only one ABBA song ever made it to Number One on the US Billboard charts though, “Dancing Queen”).

Mamma Mia!, which is Riverside’s last production of the season, Is playing until April 29 on the Stark Stage. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at www.riversidetheatre.com.

 

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