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Buzz News Chicago: Theatre and Concert Reviews

Friday, 26 September 2008 06:16

Mamma Mia!

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Mamma Mia 2008 National TourJust in time to add a last gasp of summer fun, Mamma Mia! comes sweeping into Chicago with song, dance and a talented cast that is sure to entertain each and every audience member from beginning to end. Mamma Mia! is currently playing at Roosevelt University's Auditorium Theatre through September 28th and will undoubtedly have show goers tapping their feet...

Just in time to add a last gasp of summer fun, Mamma Mia! comes sweeping into Chicago with song, dance and a talented cast that is sure to entertain each and every audience member from beginning to end. Mamma Mia! is currently playing at Roosevelt University's Auditorium Theatre through September 28th and will undoubtedly have show goers tapping their feet, clapping their hands and cheering in the aisles.

If you are looking for colorful sets, terrific choreographed dancing, wonderful vocal renditions of ABBA classics and kitschy humor - Mamma Mia! is the show for you.

Having seen many different casts for Mamma Mia!, I was very impressed with the vibrant energy of this particular ensemble and also the beaming charisma projected from the leading roles. Within the first 10-15 minutes I felt a comfort with the cast, allowing me to sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Mamma Mia!, the ABBA based musical, takes place on a Greek isle and is the story of a twenty-year-old girl, Sophie Sheridan, who lives with her single mother, Donna, where they run a humble lodging resort. Sophie is to be married but really wants her father to attend the wedding. The only problem is that Sophie does not know who her father is. However, after rifling through her mother's diary, she discovers three possibilities. Unsure of which one is truly her father, she invites all three to the wedding where she hopes to uncover the truth. Of course, her mother is unaware that three lovers from her past will shortly be in the picture.
Mamma Mia!

Bill Austin, Sam Carmichael and Harry "Headbanger" Bright - Donna's three former love interests - think Donna has invited them to Sophie's island wedding and things really get hilarious when they find out that wasn't the case at all. Adding a humorous touch to the story are Donna's lifelong friends Rosie and Tanya, who decide to bring back "Donna and the Dynamos", the girls singing group from the 70's.

Rose Sezniak exhibits star quality and is outstanding as Sophie Sheridan and couldn't be more perfect for the role (kudos to the casting director!). Her voice has the soft, innocence embodied by the character she plays, but also Sezniak displays the command and range one would find in a veteran performer. Standing out on tracks "I Have a Dream", "Under Attack" and "The Name of the Game", Sezniak brought a delicious charm of her own while, at the same time, showing her ability as an actor. Chicagoan Suzy McMonagle plays Donna Sheridan and brings a certain leadership to her role along with angelic vocals, an effervescent personality and a heartwarming smile. Among other tracks, McMonagle sang an emotional version of "The Winner Takes it All" that left the crowd breathless. The relationship onstage between Sezniak and McMonagle was uplifting, perfectly demonstrating that of a closely bonded mother and daughter.

Both Kittra Wynn Coomer (Rosie) and Michelle Elizabeth Dawson (Tanya) were dynamite as Donna's two best friends with Coomer getting huge laughs during her seduction number, "Take a Chance on Me", and Dawson displaying her terrific comic timing in her sexy "Does Your Mother Know" scene.

Michael Aaron Lindner, another Chicagoan joining the touring cast, was splendid as Harry, delivering a funny performance and showing off his vocal talent in "Our Last Summer" and "Thank You For the Music". John Hemphill (Sam) and Martin Kildare (Bill) rounded up the trio of past lovers, really sparking off each other's performance, creating some funny situational humor. The interaction between McMonagle and Hemphill's, as the somewhat slighted lovers, Donna and Sam, really flowed as evidenced in their duet of "S.O.S." and "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"; two scenes in which I felt the history between the two characters was very believable.

Whether you like the music of ABBA or not Mamma Mia! is a show that is nearly impossible not to enjoy - and it's a show for everyone. Mamma Mia! is equipped with a fun set and lighting that will take audience members to a quaint Greek isle where the enthusiastic cast, along with the show's talented band, will do the rest - entertain and provide a fantastic memory. One word of caution - there is a high probability that you will be singing "Dancing Queen" on your way home from the show - just a fair warning.

Last modified on Friday, 28 August 2009 02:01

 

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