Cast of ‘Mamma Mia!’ Shines

Audience members left the Segerstrom Center for the Arts last week with a smile on their faces and a bounce in their steps after watching Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus’ fun and upbeat production of “Mamma Mia!” that ran from April 8-13. Classic ABBA songs came to life as talented actors and singers told this heartwarming story celebrating mothers, daughters, friends and the true meaning of family.

Courtesy of The Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Courtesy of The Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Actress Chelsea Williams opened up the show in the role of Sophie Sheridan, the 20-year-old bride-to-be who just wants to find her father in time for her wedding. Sophie grew up on a small Greek island with her mother, never knowing who her dad was. After finding her mother’s diary, she realizes that three men could possibly be her father, so she invites them all to the island. What follows is a series of antics to the lovely tunes of ABBA, ranging from tracks such as the upbeat “Take a Chance on Me” to the heartwarming “Chiquitita.”

The show was set against a simple, yet effective and beautiful set, evoking the architecture of a Greek villa. Additionally, the costumes captured a perfect balance of ridiculous grandeur and charming Greek living.

The first act was fast-paced, jam packed with well-choreographed ensemble numbers to songs such as “Money! Money! Money!” and “Mamma Mia.” Lead actress Georgia Kate Haege who played the role of Sophie’s mother, Donna, stole the show with her crisp vocals. Donna’s best friends join her on the island for the wedding and go on to revive their musical trio “Donna and the Dynamos,” dazzling Sophie’s bridal party with a reunion performance featuring ABBA favorite, “Super Trouper.” One of the most entertaining numbers came at the end of the first act with drama and dancing during “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!”

As the wedding neared in the second act, the tone shifted to a series of more sentimental songs. Haege and Williams delivered a touching performance with their mother-daughter moment in “Slipping Through My Fingers,” moving many audience members to tears. However, the most impressive vocal presentation came during Haege’s rendition of “The Winner Takes It All,” making it one of the amazing moments of the show.

The story landed on a somber, reflective note, but that wasn’t the end of this fun-filled production. As audience members were getting ready to leave, the entire cast flooded the stage and broke into song and dance. Audience members stood up and danced to “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” and “Waterloo.” This encore presentation felt like an exclusive ABBA tribute concert and was the perfect way to end such a happy musical. If you’re looking to laugh, cry, and dance the night away, go see “Mamma Mia!” — it won’t disappoint.