“Mamma Mia!” at the Orpheum Theatre: Do You Believe In Magic?

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Mamma Mia! is a magical show; heartwarming in parts, and good for a hearty laugh in others. Mamma Mia! runs February 18-23 2014 at the Orpheum Theatre. For tickets (I highly recommend this show), call 1.800.982.2787 or go to www.HennepinTheatreTrust.orgMamma Mia! focusses on Sophie, a girl who grew up with only her mother. A few months before Sophie’s wedding, she steals her mother’s diary, leaning she may have three potential fathers. You can guess what happens when she invites each of them to her wedding, sending the invitations under her mother’s name. The potential fathers get along just fine, but her mother is surprised to see them again, after so long, dot dot dot.  Legitimately, these types of plot lines can be quite similar. Some can get boring or cliché. Mamma Mia! doesn’t. I loved watching each interaction, adding to the suspense of knowing sooner or later, Sophie’s mother is going to find out. The show concludes with Sophie’s wedding celebration, bringing to an end the chaotic meetup of her family and friends, including her three potential fathers.

As always, I loved each and every character. Perhaps I simply don’t have the eye to notice the ins and outs of every actor’s performance; the little things they did right, the little things they did wrong. But even if I don’t, I can tell you one thing for sure: the best actors aren’t noticed. You don’t think of them as actors; they simply become the character. Now with that note, I can tell you that I wholeheartedly believed in each and every character. There was nothing that pulled my attention from the story. Nothing that reminded me it was actors, and not real people that somehow didn’t notice several hundred people staring at them for two and a half hours. I should probably mention names (and all these actors are really worthy of a shout-out, if you could call it that), so here I go:  Sophie was played by Chelsea Williams, Sophie’s mother, Donna, played by Georgia Kate Haege; Sophie’s dad(s); Harry, played by Mark A. Harmon; Bill, played by Michael Colavolpe; and Sam, played by Jeff Drushal, an understudy. Like I said,all the actors are worthy of a shout-out, but I can only include a few, so I picked the characters the plot revolves around most.

     The set design was ingenious, being rotatable to form both the outside and inside of the taverna in which story is set, with a treetop prop lowered completing the look. The lighting design was also excellent, perfectly backing each scene, particularly the dance scenes, bringing me to my last point. The show ended about 10 minutes after the last scene, because the curtain call turned into a 70s rock concert. Mamma Mia! had the best curtain call of any show I’ve seen. I swear, everyone over 45 was swaying along to the songs. Watch Mamma Mia!.