Osbourn Park High School
Mamma Mia! Here I go again. How could one resist the pull of St Stephen's and St Agnes School and their production of the classic, Mamma Mia!?
A jukebox musical by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, members of the Swedish band Abba (from which the music comes), Mamma Mia! follows Sophie, a young girl getting married who wants her father to walk her down the aisle, and her mother Donna, who has no clue who Sophie's father is. When the three men who could have fathered Sophie show up right before the wedding, it brings back memories and tests the strength of the bond between mother and daughter.
This production of Mamma Mia! was fantastic. Many aspects of the show were student led, and extraordinarily cohesive. Each actor displayed extreme talent in multiple aspects, and the entire production was very immersive. From actors dancing in the aisles to the pit being visible in an open concept, it greatly simulated being on the island with the characters. Overall Mamma Mia! was simply superb.
An iconic mother-daughter duo, Donna and Sophie Sheridan (Amber Dunton and Charlotte Nichols respectively) were fantastic. While both characters were near opposites, the contrast is what made them mesh so beautifully. Nichols showed Sophie's childlike naivety wonderfully, from jumping into marriage to believing that she would know her father when she saw him. Additionally, she had incredible vocal support, from the moment Nichols stepped on stage she captured the attention of the audience with her angelic voice. Not to be forgotten, Dunton in her role of Donna, dominated the stage in every scene. Her powerful voice and expressive body language portrayed Donna's fear and sadness about the past. Her emotional scenes such as the song Slipping Through My Fingers brought the audience to tears. The two actors had incredible chemistry and complimented each other beautifully.
The Dynamos, a band made of Donna and her friends Rosie and Tanya, captured the hearts and attention of everyone. As the best friends of Donna, Rosie (Emma Lacy) and Tanya (Bailey Edwards) provided emotional support and comedic relief. Both characters supported Donna while also showing their own personality. Lacy, playing the fiery Rosie, showcased Rosie's anti-marriage philosophy, as well as her romantic side. Similarly, Edwards, playing Tanya, brought her own flair to the thrice married character with an air of royalty. Both characters had beautiful voices, and their harmonies were always on point. Edwards and Lacy both showed the relationship between Donna and her friends wonderfully.
The technical aspects of this show were spectacular. From the amazing orchestra to the smart costuming to the gorgeous sets, every part of this production worked in effortless harmony to immerse the audience in the island. There were so many lovely things about tech that it would be impossible to mention them all. From the first notes ringing through the auditorium, the pit orchestra worked tirelessly through the show, playing so well that many forgot it wasn't the original soundtrack. The immense amount of music they played flawlessly really brought the show together. Additionally, the sets by Taylor Grace Peterson, Zoë Coval, and Lauren Irish-Maldonado were stunning. From colorful lights on the bar to climbing vines, the set turned the stage into an impeccable Greek taverna. Some of the set pieces were often reversible, and the set crew did every transition smoothly and seamlessly, often without being noticed.
If you have a dream of seeing Mamma Mia, take a chance on St Stephen's and St Agnes School. You'll be sure to say I do, I do, I do!
South County High School
"Mamma Mia!" here we go again to St. Stephen's and St. Agnes' whimsical showcase of the hit musical with songs by ABBA! With tunes of love, friendship and nostalgia, Mamma Mia! details the story of Sophie's wedding as she tries to find the identity of her father, while keeping the investigation a secret from her mother, Donna. Boasting a cast of colorful characters and intricate technical aspects, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes' production of Mamma Mia! had audiences saying "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" more!
From the first note in "I Have a Dream," Sophie, played by Charlotte Nichols, set the bar high with her beautiful tone and vocal clarity. Amidst planning her wedding and trying to discover who her dad is, Sophie is struggling to prioritize what she really wants in her life. Nichols plays into the naivety and innocence of a young woman in love, which is reflected through her gentle and angelic vibrato in songs such as "Thank You for the Music" and "Lay All Your Love on Me." Sitting atop a moving set piece during the song "Under Attack," Nichols' breath control shined through as she moved around the stage without missing a beat.
Accompanying Donna throughout the show are her two old, but closest friends, Tanya and Rosie. Bailey Edwards brought confidence and livelihood to vivacious Tanya by embodying her character's sassy walk in platform heels. Her comedic intelligence was highlighted in "Does Your Mother Know" where she flirted with Donna's employee, Pepper, while belting out high notes. Her dynamic with Rosie (Emma Lacy) brought bubbly and girly fun to the stage in songs such as "Super Trouper" and "Dancing Queen." During "Chiquitita" both girls' voices blended gorgeously together to create some of the best harmonies in the show.
From the bachelors dressed in flippers to the islanders with their lavish luggage, the ensemble brought the little Greek island to life with their commitment and energy to every dance number. Choreographed by Emma Lacy, Emmie Vajda and Gabriella Miller Milow, the moves brought animation and swells of movement to the taverna, highlighted in the numbers "Mamma Mia" and "Under Attack."
Along with a slew of talented vocalists, there was a live orchestra who laid the foundation for an enthralling musical arrangement. The violinists, Alethea Callahan and Dimitri Criswell, and violist Tate Commission, had a range of beautiful solos. From the lively opening to the haunting melody in "Slipping Through My Fingers," the strings players enhanced every song. The orchestra created an ethereal ambience and a magic that could be felt in every corner of the theater.
Headed by Taylor Grace Peterson, Zoë Coval, and Lauren Irish-Maldonado, the set crew brought Donna's taverna into fruition with colored lights, multiple balconies and Greek architecture in mind. The set revolved to reveal Donna and Sophie's bedroom, both decorated to fit each character, and the run crew switched the scenery flawlessly.
From wedding dresses to boas and sparkling bell bottoms, every costume was tailored to the character wearing it and to the atmospheres of the tracks playing. Tanya was dressed in a regal purple, matching her grand lifestyle and exuberant personality. To fit with her spunky sense of humor, Rosie sported funky patterns and bright shades of red. Sophie and her two best friends donned loose outfits with bright beachy colors.
And to close off the show, we got an energetic rendition of "Waterloo" with the whole cast and crew dancing around the auditorium. ABBA would say "Thank you for the Music" to St. Stephen's and St. Agnes' cast and crew of Mamma Mia!