Those who like music by the 1970s Swedish pop group ABBA, will enjoy Oelwein High School’s selection for its fall musical. “Mamma Mia!” will be performed on the Williams Center for the Performing Arts stage, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2. Director Julie Williams reports tickets will go on sale Monday, Oct. 14.
Mamma Mia! is a colorful, sweeping musical with all of the passion expected of a Greek-themed story. Dubbed a jukebox musical written by songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the male voices of ABBA, the familiar pop/disco music blends perfectly with the story line.
Lauren Hamilton is cast as Sophie Sheridan, the young adult daughter of Donna Sheridan, played by Megan Baerg, who is planning her wedding to fiancé Sky, played by Ian Paul. The year is 2000 and Sophie was raised by her single mother, but yearns to meet her father and have him walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.
When she finds her mother’s old diary, she learns there were three men with whom her mother had intimate relationships during the summer of 1979. She secretly sends a wedding invitation to each of them thinking she will know which one is her father the moment she sees him.
Donna knows nothing of this and there is plenty of drama, laughter and mixed messages when the three former lovers begin showing up at her taverna on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi. The three are American architect Sam Charmichael played by Blake Perkins, British banker Harry Bright played by Andrew Roete, and writer/adventurer Bill Austin, performed by Alex Peters.
Supporting cast are Sophie’s bridesmaids, Ella Schunk as Ali, and Lauren Harrison as Lisa; Donna’s best friends and members of their former girl trio the Dynamos, Brooke Patterson as Tanya and Laura Gibbs as Rosie; taverna employees Leighton Patterson as Pepper and Parker Sperfslage as Eddie; and Brody Rogers as Father Alexandrios.
The Mamma Mia! music would not be complete without plenty of extra voices. The male chorus members are Logan Cockerham, James Moses, Kane Ohl, Owen Rechkemmer, Andrew Rownd and Jacob Vaughn. The female chorus members are Jade Alber, Morgan Alber, Abigail Dahl, Brooke Ellis, Sabrina Epley, Shalymar Evens, Sydney Gefaller, Aryn Glew, Abigail Patrick, Jillian Prouty, Jenna Schmith, Heidi Shoudy, Emma Smock, Natalie Stasi and Morgan Vawter.
Longtime Oelwein teacher and drama director Julie Williams returns after retiring two years ago, as drama director for this upbeat, fun production. Assisting her will be Polly Barreto and Ziana Glew. Vocal music instructor Darci Fuelling will lead the music production of the show, with longtime accompanist Sue Schlitter lending her expertise at the piano.
Williams said she is happy to be back doing something she truly loves and working with the Fuelling/Schlitter duo.
“Everything they work on together is magic,” she said. Williams added that Barreto and Glew both have production/direction experience and are her go-to people for advice, collaboration and she knows they’ve got her back.
“You know, I spent most of the last two years away from school and students, except for serving on the school board. I forgot about the noise,” she said laughing. “But I am glad to be back. This is a great musical that will really showcase a talented bunch of students and it is all good. I love it.”