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30Dec

Oak Park High School's Mamma Mia Selected Reviews

Nora Cameron
Ruskin High School

Submitted for publication to KC Star Online

TAKE A CHANCE ON MAMMA MIA!

You can dance! You can jive! You will also have the time of your life at Oak Park High School's production of MAMMA MIA!. Enjoy, as chaos ensues with its catchy songs, hilarious characters, and touching story between mother and daughter.

Mamma Mia, the wildly popular musical written by Catherine Johnson, is the story of a single mother Donna and her daughter Sophie. Sophie is in search of her dad so he can walk her down the aisle at her wedding. She sends out wedding invitations to three different men from her mother's past. Thinking that one of these strangers is her father, Sophie hopes she will be able to discover the truth in time for her wedding. When her three potential dads arrive, Sophie's plan slowly unravels and major miscommunications, flirting, and old feelings lead to a cascade of shenanigans.

A major highlight of this production is the talented vocals of their leading ladies. Both Sophie (Sierra Hermsen) and Donna (Francesca Young) bring a captivating presence throughout the entire show. They have bright voices and incredible characterization, too. Young reveals touching ballads in "The Winner Takes it All." She proceeds to stun the audience with her authentic and natural in her portrayal of a hard-working mother.

Another notable performer is, Danielle Blankenship, who plays the role of Tanya. She implements great characterization in her hilariously delivered lines and was complemented perfectly by Ellie Hubbard, who played Rosie. Other strong presences onstage are the actors playing Sophie's three possible dads portrayed by Ashton Mychalczuk (Sam), Jacob Collier (Harry), and Zachary Scott (Bill Austin); they are hilarious and endearing. Scott brings superb energy as Bill Austin, truly embodying his carefree and free-spirited nature.

Everyone that steps onto the stage brings liveliness. Just about every actor on stage is always reacting. At times, they lack big facial expressions of emotion within what they are singing. Other than that, there is never a dull moment. The choreography is quite precise and is highly entertaining; everyone is interactive with their movements. Sometimes the chemistry between characters presents as awkward, but they are having fun on stage and it shows in their dancing, singing, and expressions.

While the actors create varying emotional atmospheres, the technical aspects of the production add to the ambiance and help set the mood for the audience. Immediately, the spectacular set and backdrop captivate the audience. The lighting and transitions throughout the whole show match the emotion of each scene. It enhances the set and musical numbers, hitting all the musical nuances. Oak Park's stage manager, Elania Shalabi, does a fantastic job at calling cues. They are all on time and play out seamlessly. The stage crew does a phenomenal job with the scene changes. They are quick, smooth and non-obstructive. There are a few noticeable mishaps with the sound but despite this, the crew does a fantastic job at keeping it steadily strong.

Oak Park High School's production of MAMMA MIA! is guaranteed to bring joy to the audience and remind people to embrace their inner dancing queen!
 



Brittany Susano
Ruskin High School

Submitted for publication to The Pitch

THE PHENOMENAL MAMMA MIA MUSICAL

Everyone has their own journey to follow in order to truly discover who they are and what they genuinely want. This is highlighted in the spectacular MAMMA MIA musical that is brought to life by some talented students from Oak Park High School. The energy that some of these students give does not go unnoticed and captures the attention of their audience.

Sophie Sheridan is a young woman on a journey to discover who her father is in time for a special event, but it becomes quite problematic when there are three individuals who could be that man. This journey also includes her mother, Donna Sheridan, when her three former lovers are back which forces her to handle this issue. Their journey gives us good laughs while also providing a meaningful story to think about deeply.

There are many students who portray the characters in such a remarkable way that so the show is full of life and excitement. Unforgettable performances includes Sierra Hermsen, who creates the spirit of Sophie Sheridan's character and is a great vocalist, and Francesa Young who brings the essence of Donna Sheridan to life.

The entire cast participates in creating the high-spirited energy and makes the show very entertaining to watch. The harmonies of the ensemble are in sync and flawlessly executed by the students. The ensemble also does an amazing job fitting in every scene with their body language and facial expressions.

The set is incredible and definitely eye-catching to the audience, matching the Greek culture essence. Ashton Mychalczuk, who is the set designer and construction manager, does an amazing job creating the vision for the show. Costumes, designed by Brenden Blue and Emily Morrison, are absolutely amazing. The choreography matches the time period the story is in and is the other reason why this show is brought to life. Although there were moments the mics would go off, the actors and actresses continue the show smoothly and do their best to project their voices. The orchestra is small but does an amazing job.

The entire production is beautifully executed by the skilled and passionate students of Oak Park High School.The MAMMA MIA production is visually appealing and it captured the attention of the audience for every second.

 

 



Lauren Taylor
Ruskin High School

Submitted for publication to The Courier Tribune

HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE

Three dads. A dancing shark. Women empowerment. What do those three things have in common? Well, they are all a part of Oak Park High School's beautiful rendition of MAMMA MIA. This show will have you dancing in your seat, and tapping your feet to the beat. With high energy from the top of the show to the final curtain call, you will be turned into a "Dancing Queen."

MAMMA MIA is a show based on the disco hits from Sweden's international band, ABBA. This story follows the journey of a single mother, Donna and her daughter Sophie. Sophie (Sierra Hermsen) is about to get married to her fiance, Sky (Colby Johnson), but she comes across a dilemma. She wants her dad to walk her down the aisle, but she never knew who he was, so she goes looking in her mother Donna's (Francesca Young) diary to find the answers she seeks. She discovers that the year she was born her mother had flings with three different men, Sam, Bill, and Harry (Ashton Mychalczuk, Zachary Scott, and Jacob Collier). Knowing that one of these men has to be her dad, she secretly invites all three of them to her wedding, with the hopes that she will discover who her true father is.

Hermsen and Young blow the audience away with their amazing and effortless vocal talent. With great chemistry between the two, they accurately portray a realistic mother-daughter relationship. Young plays the role of a mother with ease, fitting the role perfectly with her mature-sounding voice and powerful stage presence. Despite this show being very playful, there are times when the tone shifts to something more serious, and the cast deals with these transitions with ease. To relieve some of the seriousness, characters like Pepper (Sammy AbuNamous) and Tanya (Danielle Blankenship) provide the audience with just the right amount of comedic relief.

The ensemble brings this show to life each time they appear on stage. Performing various fun and creative dance numbers, even some with gymnastic aspects. Although at most times it is hard to understand their words, the energy level never fades. As a whole the ensemble is sensational, but a few dancers in particular stood out. Reese Hill (Young Woman) has amazing facial expressions and high energy, and it is hard to take your eyes off her. Brenden Blue (Young Harry) and Kylie McLane (Young Donna) perform a lovely interpretive dance in the song "Our Last Summer" that leaves the audience in awe.

One of the most memorable parts of this show is the costumes. From the bright colors to the "Super Trooper" costumes with light-up belts, the costume crew does a phenomenal job. Another aspect that contributes to the show is the Pit. Although being a small group, they do an amazing job of filling the room with sound.

The cast does a spectacular job of keeping the energy high and the atmosphere fun. Although the majority of the show is hard to hear which distracts from the plot, the actors do a great job of continuing to perform through their mic troubles. Singing and dancing their way into our hearts, Oak Park High School leaves us wanting more.

About the Author

Rackers, Brad

Chair - FY20 Season

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