Theater Review: Mamma Mia!
© THE FLASH LIST | May 30, 2012
Dallas Summer Musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park
Music and Lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA
Some songs with Stig Anderson, Book by Catherine Johnson
This is one for the girls!
Tanya (Alison Ewing), the wealthy, well-heeled, thrice-divorced ‘cougar’, and her carefree, please “Take a Chance on Me” cohort Rosie (Mary Callanan) are cheering up their friend Donna (Kaye Tuckerman). Formerly members of the trio Donna and the Dynamos (now musically equipped with blow dryer and snorkel mask ‘microphones’ and a tennis racquet ‘guitar’), the ladies reminisce over their glory days by singing “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen” with a beautifully rich fullness while simultaneously sending the audience into stitches with their Lucille Ball-like comedic antics.
Based entirely on the songs of 1970’s Swedish pop group ABBA (with a tiny little Ozzy reference thrown in), the musical Mamma Mia! is set on a Greek island at Donna’s quaint taverna where plans are underway for the wedding of her 20-year-old daughter, Sophie (Chloe Tucker) who is insistent that her father walk her down the aisle. However, according to the ‘dot dot dots’ between the intimate details of her mother’s diary, there are three paternal possibilities: Harry (Paul Deboy), a former head banger turned London banker; Bill (John-Michael Zuerlein), an Australian Dundee-ish happy wanderer who lives out of a knap sack; and Sam (Jeff Applegate), a down-to-earth, sandal-clad, American architect. In response to Sophie’s invitation, all three men have arrived on the island unbeknownst to her mother Donna or groom-to-be Sky (Happy Mahaney) which naturally leads to a behind-the-scenes cat-and-mouse game of solve-the-mystery.
Like Amanda Seyfried in the 2008 movie adapted from the musical, Chole Tucker gives her character Sophie an ideal balance of youthful innocence and spirited tenacity. Her sweet demeanor and solid voice made her performances of “I Have a Dream,” “Honey, Honey,” and “The Name of the Game” quite notable. The show also features a fantastic cast of young dancers, funky choreography, frequent fast-paced scene changes, brilliant costumes (some of which we might delightfully imagine to find if Elvis paid a visit to the Jetsons), along with the revival of Donna and the Dynamos singing “Super Trouper” while “shining like the sun.”
So bring your mom, daughter, friend, neighbor, or entire Sisterhood of Traveling Pants to this high-energy production running for one week only. You won’t even need your hairbrush microphone for the everybody-on-your-feet, end-of-show encore featuring “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia,” and more!
Mamma Mia! runs through June 3, 2012 with a run-time of approximately two and a half hours which includes one intermission. Details below.