By Taylor Ferreira
The Spring musical, Mamma Mia, opened April twenty-sixth, wowing the audience with its professional set, live band, and vivid costuming. This high school rendition of the Abba classic was directed by Mr. Nathan Day, with help from Out of the Box’s Vivian McLaughlin as voice coach, and Linda Wichelmann as costume manager.
The musical begins with the young Sophie, played by junior Casey DeLa Cruz, sending three letters down the aisle aboard a small boat. With a sweet opening solo, DeLa Cruz sets up the story explaining her character’s plan to find her long-absent father before her wedding day. She sends off the three invitations after discovering a diary holding her mother’s past encounters with three men–also known as Sophie’s potential fathers.
The musical continues featuring the problems Sophie and her mother, Donna Sheridan (played by Ellie Bettencourt), face when all three men show up for Sophie’s wedding. These characters explore complex themes of young love, facing deeply buried secrets, following the heart’s desires, and the power of a strong mother amidst colorful humor and upbeat songs.
The hilarious Rosie Mulligan (played by Skyelar Clouse) and Tanya Cresham-Leigh (Anne-Marie Thorton) provide comic relief both for the audience and Donna as she handles the stress of putting together a white wedding as well as the unwanted presence of her past lovers.
The well-casted men of the story also provide for the dynamic of the play, bringing variation with their impeccable comedic timing and diverse backstories. Sam Carmichael, played by Will Thompson, is the tragic divorcee blamed for Donna’s turning towards other men and her beliefs surrounding marriage. Harry Bright, played by Yohann Klapstein, is a sophisticated banker who is proud of his past reputation as “Harry Headbanger”. This shocking contrast between his subtle accent and his striking, long blonde-hair brought much laughter to the audience throughout the musical. Finally, Bill Austin, played by Riley Bennett, completes the trio with his writing background and eventual relationship with Rosie.
Kian Braulik, the leading male role as Sophie’s fiancé Sky, had the audience rolling with his appearance in a full, traditional-style wedding gown. This entrance alongside Ava Keffer’s convincing role as Pepper, the flirtatious bar-tender, kept the full, two-and-a-half hour show jam-packed with entertainment, without a dull moment to be seen.
Because of the limited number of major roles in this performance, it was clear that there was plenty of talent among the supporting characters. Gillian O’Leary and Teija Bressler played Sophie’s best-friends, Lisa and Ali, and brought another layer of beauty with their energy and precise harmonies. The ensemble also impressed with their execution of the complicated and quick choreography by Kevin Gruwell. Their appearance during Sophie’s bachelorette party wearing bright, sequined dresses and tall heels provided for an epic scene alongside the performances from “Donna and the Dynamos”.
The hard work, sweat, tears, and fire required for the making of this musical was evident in every aspect of the show–from the gorgeous backdrop and rotating set to the voices and choreography–Mamma Mia had it all. Mr. Day has had another success, and many are already anticipating future Arty Awards for our talented students and director.