“Mamma Mia!” at the Orpheum Theatre: One Stage, Three Dads, Countless Dancing Queens

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The day before her wedding, the twenty-year old bride-to-be meets three men she invited. Oh, did I mention that these men all slept with her mother right around the time of her conception, making them all possible fathers for her? Mamma Mia! No, really…Mamma Mia! Now playing at the Orpheum Theater through February 23, it is a show that is sure to leave you feeling happy and plenty of older women reminiscing about past love and romance.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, Mamma Mia! delves into the world of Sophie Sheridan (Chelsea Williams), the aforementioned bride-to-be, as she tries to connect with her father before her wedding. Her mother Donna (Georgia Kate Haege), a tired hotel owner on the island, is confounded by the appearances of these past loves that her daughter invited. Throughout the show Donna learns to reconnect with her former wild and vivacious self, with much help from two crazy friends, some ostentatious costumes, and plenty of fun-filled musical numbers.

Georgia Kate Haege leads the cast with outstanding vocals. Her performance of the title song “Mamma Mia” is extraordinary, and it is safe to assume that the audience agreed by their consistent and disjointed swaying. Aside from the singing, Haege impresses with her range in character. Going from an overloaded single mother to a dazzling Dancing Queen requires significant shifts in character, and Haege pulls it off beautifully.

Mamma Mia! is known for its fun songs and feel-good mood. Crucial to these components are pretentious Tanya (Gabrielle Mirabella) and goofy Rosie (Carly Sakolove), Donna’s best friends and former bandmates. Seemingly the antithesis of one another, the comedic duo adds spice to the show. The chemistry is quite apparent, especially during the famed “Dancing Queen” number which showcases Donna and the Dynamos as they sing their hearts out in some outlandish retro outfits. Another notable song was “Take a Chance on Me.” This number features Rosie trying to win over one of the men that Sophie invited to the wedding. The humorous number ends with the two directly on top of each other, a hysterical moment that epitomizes why Mamma Mia! is such a loved work.

The show is entertaining throughout. However, the second act starts out a little slow and does not match the dynamic action of the first. But all in all, it is still filled with great singing and dancing. Another element of the show that could be improved is the set. The minimalistic approach consisting of a simple facade of the hotel left the stage a little bare. Though the lively songs and dances filled the space, a little something was left to be desired.

Despite these minor critiques, the show is sure to delight audiences of all ages. Now this may not be scientifically proven, but it is almost certain that more Dancing Queens leave the theater than enter.