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Thank You For the Music(al)--Mamma Mia Review

This year's spring musical "Mamma Mia" took audience members back to the 70s and 80s through the music of ABBA. (Courtesy Photo)

By Emily Southern--Eagle Staff Writer

After successfully competing in One-Act competition, the theatre production team has turned a full 180 and has taken their final bow from their spring musical: Mamma Mia!

The performance ran from Friday, April 29 until Sunday, May 1, and was based on the songs of ABBA along with the Broadway musical of the same name. Mamma Mia was originally conceived by Judy Craymer. The production follows an independent hotelier named Donna Sheridan whose daughter, Sophie Sheridan, is getting married. The bride secretly invites three different men to her wedding hoping to figure out which one is her dad so he can walk her down the aisle.

Mary Hannah Wheeler, director/choreographer/producer, could be seen the week before the production running around campus trying to get the musical’s last-minute finishing touches, but on the last production night, she was nothing but proud and excited.

Wheeler opened the night by welcoming the crowd and thanking everyone for helping put the show together, including Music Director Meagan Funck, Technical Director Ross Zabloski, Stage Manager Kayla Messenger, and many other individuals.

Wheeler directed and choreographed the entire production wonderfully and there were many scenes where you could tell her vision truly came to life. However, these ideas would not have been possible without the talented backstage crew, company, and lighting/sound directors.

There was one incident that occurred while the team was switching scenes that really showed their skills and professionalism. A character went to sit on the prop and it fell over. Immediately, one crew member noticed and fixed it without missing a beat. That small malfunction could have been a problem, but the crew smoothed it out with ease, proving that they’re an amazing backstage crew.

When considering characters, two individuals that really stood out to me were senior Lindsey Smith and junior Heidi Eames who played Tanya and Rosie, the two best friends of Donna.

Smith’s character Tanya was a rich three-time-divorcee who overflowed with spunk. Her outfits and accessories were on point for every scene. Whether her outfits were a collaboration of Smith’s own closet or Wheeler and Funck’s doing, it was incredibly spot-on for her character and it really brought the show to life.

After a successful performance, the cast gathered together for a celebratory photo. (Courtesy Photo)

Eames, on the other hand, took the role of Rosie, who was feisty and bold. Eames kept everyone in the crowd laughing and smiling along with Matthew Smith who played Bill Austin during their scenes together. Her spiteful wit was on point and was in the best corners of the musical. Eames especially stood out in Act 1 during the song “Dancing Queen.” Not only did she turn into a dancing queen but she was also an astounding vocalist.

After Act 1, Wheeler recognized three of her seniors, and I was very pleased to see that one of them was actually going to college for theatre.

Emily Greene, who played Donna, is continuing her theatre journey at Emory and Henry College to hopefully pursue a career in Fine Arts. I have seen her in multiple productions and her talent has shone in every one. The acting world will be lucky to have her.

Now, there’s one thing I must note. Originally, when I went to this musical, it was to show support for my school and friends, but after viewing this performance, I easily realized it deserved an astounding level of recognition. Hence my inspiration to write this piece. I never wanted the show to end!

As the team took their final bow, you could feel the emotion in the air and it was obvious how much they cared for one another. You could see why the seniors were so emotional for their last production as FCHS students. The crowd praised them with a well-deserved standing ovation. This was a bittersweet performance and experience but was nonetheless outstanding.

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