Last night, as the snow was beginning to come down here in Estes Park, the curtains came up to a house packed to capacity, well close to it anyways. I think we may all be searching for a few ways to return to the nostalgia of a world before everything turned upside down, and catching this show is a great way to do just that.
Some people may say that a high school production of Momma Mia! might be too edgy for the small mountain town of Estes Park. But I'm afraid I must disagree. To me, high school theatrical productions are the fire that helps to forge our future actors, and new actors are something we will be in desperate need of as we look to find new hope and inspiration as we face our collective futures.
Estes Park School District’s Dr. Alan Denney is no stranger producing edgier productions. Three years ago, in 2018, they put on a production of Cabaret and had a production of Legally Blonde last year. This year was also not their first attempt at putting on Mamma Mia!. Last year, they wanted to but were unable to because a nearby dinner theater was also putting on the show. So, due to copyright restrictions, they were unable to.
It is refreshing to see a non ‘traditional’ parenting model, as so many of us have experienced in our own lives.
Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson. A jukebox musical is a stage musical or musical film in which most of the songs are well-known popular music songs, rather than original music. which features the songs of ABBA, composed by Bennie Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, who were members of the band.
According to Wikipedia: The musical includes such hits as "Super Trouper,” "Lay All Your Love on Me,” "Dancing Queen,” "Knowing Me, Knowing You,” "Take a Chance on Me,” "Thank You for the Music,” "Money, Money, Money,” "The Winner Takes It All,” "Voulez-Vous,” "SOS" and "Mamma Mia.” Over 65 million people have seen the show, which has grossed $4 billion worldwide since its 1999 debut. A film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgård, and Julie Walters was released in July 2008. A sequel film followed it in July 2018.
Mamma Mia! is based on the songs of ABBA, a Swedish pop/dance group active from 1972 to 1982 and one of the most popular international pop groups of all time, topping the charts again and again in Europe, North and South America, and Australia. Following the musical’s premiere in London in 1999, ABBA Gold topped the charts in the United Kingdom again. This musical was the brainchild of producer Judy Craymer. She met songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson in 1983 when they were working with Tim Rice on Chess. The song "The Winner Takes It All” suggested to her the theatrical potential of their pop songs. The songwriters were not enthusiastic, but they were not completely opposed to the idea.
The storyline follows a single mother and daughter who has never known her father. During the period time before the planned wedding of the daughter. Who, after snooping around in her mother’s diary, discovers three possible ex-lovers of her mother, who may be her father. I won’t spoil any more than that.
As far as the performance, opening nights in a high school production can be hell for the students involved, and opening night jitters may have contributed to minor blocking and projection issues at the show's beginning. Still, they got much better as the show went on.
There were two break-out performances of the night. Both of the young musical actresses that played the show’s mother and daughter main characters had range and ability that seemed to belie their age. Especially Rose Burgit, who played the mother’s character, Donna Sheridan. Who is new to the Estes Park School District this year.
Actress Ashley Maese, who played daughter Sophie Sheridan, shone in her performance on stage.
“I think the draw (in selecting the show) was the music and the film…I want the students to be excited about musical theater and do something more contemporary, edgy, or even relevant. I feel like more students audition for it. I like to do music that is challenging, relevant and my students will get excited about it.” Denney tells us about choosing the show.
Momma Mia! runs through Saturday with showtime at 7:00 pm
There is limited seating due to COVID restrictions.
Tickets will be available online till the day of the performance at www.estesschools.org.
Tickets are also available at the door.
ADULT TICKETS ARE $15.00
STUDENT TICKETS ARE $12.00