Feature photo: Charis Leos, Anne Brummel, and Lyn Philistine in Mamma Mia! at the Walnut Street Theatre. Photo by Mark Garvin
It’s safe to say that the Walnut Street Theatre saved the most fun for last. Mamma Mia– which runs now until July 22nd- closes out the 2017-2018 season with the Europop goodness you didn’t think you needed. But you do. This a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson is based on the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA. The show is also composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band.
Mamma Mia revolves around Sophie Sheridan (played by Laura Giknis) and her mother Donna Sheridan (Anne Brummel) as they prepare for the former’s wedding on the Greek Island where they live. Donna owns a tavern there and has raised her daughter away from the mainland, later revealing they had nowhere else to go. With the wedding approaching, Sophie reaches out to three men… because one may be her father. Obviously, hilarity ensues.
Mamma Mia isn’t too heavy, with a plot that doesn’t have many twists and is great for the whole family. Light and fun, as summer in our city should be. While it’s not really a PG-rated show, many jokes will go over a kid’s head and it’s the fun dancing, flashy outfits, and singalong songs that will be remembered anyway. Brummel and Giknis absolutely shine in these roles, however it’s the supporting cast that really shapes this production- most especially Mamma Sheridan’s pair of gal pals from the old days, Rosie (Charis Leos) and Tanya (Lyn Philistine). The trio once was “Donna and the Dynamos” and anytime they are on stage together, it’s fantastic. Over the course of the show, the characters learn more about each, growing in a way, and they come together for a wedding none of them expected to be at- you’ll see!
It’s really hard to believe that Mamma Mia is practically a baby in the Broadway scene. It opened in the West End in 2009 before moving to New York in 2001. Since then, there have been countless tours and performances; rumor has it there are seven different performances of Mamma Mia running throughout the world at any given time. You can catch it in Texas, Ontario and the UK later this week if you’re interested…just to name a few!
Maybe it’s so easy to love because you already know the songs. Maybe it’s the closest you’ll get to the Greek Isles. Maybe you can related in one way or another; was ABBA the soundtrack to your teenage years? Maybe romance is in the air and you want experience some upbeat vibes to pair with your feelings. No matter what, head to Walnut Street Theatre to beat the heat and make some summer memories of you own.
Stick around after the final bows for your chance to dance and jive as the cast performs “Waterloo” as well as a reprise of “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen.”
You’re going to have a great time.
For tickets and more information, visit www.walnutstreettheatre.com