Watching the musical Mamma Mia! is a bit like taking a romantic Mediterranean vacation where the sky and ocean are cool breezy blue backdrops and sandstone-like Greek architectural building props create a lively taverna setting. During your musical vacation, you encounter happy moments mixed in with lighthearted flirty humor, boys in wetsuits, and women who are “rock chick supremos.” Isn’t that what you’d want out of a picturesque Greek island vacation? Oh, and don’t forget the infectious music of Swedish super group ABBA! Make that an international exotic combination of a Greek setting, Swedish music, plus British writing and you have the hit musical that millions of people worldwide have enjoyed and loved throughout the years.
Mamma Mia!, the long running musical comedy about a daughter’s quest to find her real dad before she gets married, is every bit of ’70’s flash and stage razzle dazzle that you would expect out of a play that is based on – and performed to – infectious ABBA songs. (ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson were co-composers and involved in the development of this musical.) Originally a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, Mamma Mia! had its debut performance in London’s West End in 1999. The play eventually came to the U.S. in 2001, where it debuted in Chicago. Now, 11 years after the first U.S. performance, the musical is still alive, thriving, and touring. On Wednesday, November 2nd, the touring cast of Mamma Mia! sang and danced their ABBA-loving hearts out for the show’s opening night. (Mamma Mia! will be at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre from now until Sunday, November 6th, so hurry up and buy tickets if you want to see this show before it leaves town.)
This stage version of Mamma Mia! starred Kaye Tuckerman as single mom and Greek Taverna owner Donna Sheridan with Chloe Tucker playing Donna’s 20-year old daughter, Sophie Sheridan. The story goes that Sophie is set to marry her finance Sky (Happy Mahaney), but she really wants her father to give her away at the wedding. She doesn’t know her father, his name, or his whereabouts; so, in an attempt to find out information about her mystery dad, Sophie snoops in her mom’s old diary and finds three possible candidates. She then invites all the men to her wedding and from there craziness ensues with sexual innuendos and double entendres abound. Sophie’s three possible dads are a British banker Harry Bright (Paul Deboy), writer and adventurer Bill Austin (John-Michael Zuerlein), and an American architect Sam Carmichael (Christian Whelan). Then you throw in the mix Donna’s old band mates from Donna & The Dynamos – rich, three-time divorcee Tanya (Alison Ewing) and carefree, unmarried Rosie (Mary Callahan) – and you have a recipe for a whole lot of awkward moments, sexual tension, and laughter. This show is so lighthearted and fun that it’s hard to peg down a favorite scene, but a few of my favorite numbers include – “Thank You for the Music” and “Mamma Mia” when the three potential fathers get to the taverna; “Dancing Queen” where Donna & The Dynamos shake it up on stage; “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” and “The Name of the Game” during Sophie’s bacholette party; and “The Winner Takes It All” when Donna confronts a past lover. One of the funniest scenes in <i>Mamma Mia!</i> happens when Rosie chases Bill around the tavern for “Take A Chance On Me.” That was one of the best numbers of the show and the audience definitely loved it!
So, what better way to see a musical play titled Mamma Mia! than with my own mamma? And that’s exactly what I did on opening night! My mom is a recently retired school teacher who absolutely loves the 2008 movie version of Mamma Mia! , which starred Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, and Amanda Seyfried. She’d never seen the live Broadway version of the play before, so this was a special mother-daughter moment which she can’t stop talking about it. (Ah, the power of live shows!) This just further proves the argument that live musical performances are always more spectacular than their movie counterparts. I mean, you can’t enjoy a live dance party in a movie, can you? At the end of the show the cast took to the stage to do a group song and dance party encore! Donna & The Dynamos and Sophie’s three possible dads were in full rock star gear as they sang “Mamma Mia,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Waterloo.” After the finale, John-Michael Zuerlein (who played Bill Austin) requested that the audience help the theater community’s philanthropic endeavor and donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Phyllis Newman Woman’s Health Initiative. Donations were taken by cast and crew members as the audience left the theatre. Patrons who donated $20 received a Mamma Mia! apron, $40 got you a signed show card by the cast, and $60 donors received a Donna & The Dynamos poster that was used during the play. All donations were tax deductible and were taken in cash. (I’m not sure if they accepted check or credit/debit cards, but you could ask at the theatre if you’d like to donate and that’s the best way for you to do so.)
Ok, and now for confession time – I love ABBA’s music. Maybe it’s the Scandinavian in me, but I just love the songs and I know all the words to every song in Mamma Mia!. I know there are some who are not fans of the music or may find the songs a bit annoying, but I don’t see how that dislike could translate over into live theater. (Just think about it – I’m sure there are cover songs you like better than the originals.) Besides, Mamma Mia!‘s storyline flows flawlessly with the ABBA tunes and the performers own the material, making you forget that not all of these songs were specifically written for the play. But also – no matter what – a night out at the Fabulous Fox Theatre is always a good night out!
Mamma Mia! is playing at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre from Wednesday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 6th, 2011.
November 2nd – 4th show starts at 8 p.m.
November 5th show starts at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
November 6th show starts at 1 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
The Fox Theatre – Atlanta
660 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
Money, Money, Money
Thank You For The Music
Lay All Your Love On Me
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
The Name of the Game
One Of Us
Does Your Mother Know
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Our Last Summer
Slipping Through My Fingers
The Winner Takes It All
Take A Chance On Me
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
I Have A Dream
“A Christmas Carol” at Theatre in the Square Brings the Holiday Cheer!
Nothing makes me feel more like Christmas is just around the corner than seeing a live performance of “A Christmas Carol.” We have been fortunate to see it performed all over the country with highlights in Boston at the North Shore Music Theatre and now a wonderful performance at the resurrected Theatre in the Square!
The intimate theater is the perfect setting for a story this classic. Even if you are sitting in the back, you will still get a great view and feel the story just fine.
From the opening of the story, through the highly appreciated musical numbers, and a wonderful full cast finale, this adaptation is simply delightful.
The cast, comprised of some amazing local talent, is as good as they get! Some of the best and stand out performances go to Bruce Speer as Scrooge, Cindy Copeland as Christmas Past, Vance West as Bob Cratchit and how could we leave out Davie DeWitt as Tiny Tim!
After the show we talked to the owner of the Theatre, Raul Thomas and he told us this. ” This adaptation by Director Tony Smithey he has been producing in a variety of forms for 18 years. Originally written to tour in schools the running time was about 55 min. With the addition of music and dancing it now runs about an hour and a half with the intermission.
In the production Tony has done a little fleshing out to Scrooge’s relationships with his Mother, his only friend Jacob Marley and his one and only true love Belle. ”
This is a must on our Holiday Fun list so get your tickets now HERE as it opens tonight!
The New Theatre in the Square Marietta is Back and Better Than Ever!
Three years ago one of my favorite local theaters took their final bow and closed up shop. Ever since I can I remember, I loved going to see performances at the Theatre on the Square in the beautiful Marietta Square. I can remember going to see some great Christmas shows with my parents and one of my favorites, the “1940’s Radio Hour”. Ahhh, the memories. But, it was all over in 2012.
Three years have come and gone and I spent two of those years in Boston and one in Florida, so imagine my delight to come back to Atlanta to find that the Theatre on the Square was revamped and ready to amaze again with great local talent.
We took a few minutes to get to know the lovely Roxanne Johnson of the Theatre and ask her a few questions.
TBB: We are so excited that the beloved Theatre in the Square in Marietta is making it’s glorious comeback. Tell me about this revival, who is involved and what we can expect?
Roxanne: It was more than heart breaking to the community as a whole to see Theatre in the Square close up shop in 2012. Immediately seeing huge potential Raul Thomas; Executive Chef, Film Maker and avid supporter of all the arts, took over the theatre in September of this year. From the community he hand picked a team of top notch creative and business professionals. We all quickly went to bring this sacred space back to it’s former glory.
Wanting to court previous supporters of the theatre we offer through our resident company standards and favorites of the community. There will also be more contemporary entertainment offered as well as concerts and comedy and other events. The former green room has now been transformed into a small film and photography studio.
The studio is available to the community. As well as classes for children and adults. We are already working closely with Marietta Middle School and Kennesaw State University. The ultimate goal is creating a multi-cultural center bringing entertainment and education to the area through art and theatre.
Information regarding what is currently running and what is coming up for us, as well as purchasing tickets can be found on our website HERE.
After the 1st of the year we will be offering season tickets, flex tickets and reserved seating.
Pure Magic! Cinderella at The Fox Theatre!
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who dreamed of happiness, played with her animal friends and loved her daddy. She loved to pretend that she was the beautiful princess at a ball, dancing the night away. Yes, once upon a time.
As the years went by, the girl grew older but her dreams never died. She still loves her daddy, her animal friends and of course, dreams of happiness and princess gowns.
Last night, that little girl witnessed the most amazing thing! A true princess transform on stage and she knew that anything was possible! So, she began to dream some more!
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