The show is performed on a stage set up in front of the river as if for a rock concert (but better - it's a musical!). It's tall enough for great sightlines in the large audience seated on plastic chairs (padding for the VIP section), and the set has multiple stairs with higher levels for even better viewing. We see that familiar Greek villa backdrop, with lots of colorful flowers, so that with the tropical weather we've been having and the water of the river in the background, if you squint your eyes it's easy to believe you're in Greece with Donna and her friends and family. Act I utilizes the natural light, and as the sun begins to set during Act II, the stage lights come on, so that by the closing number of the show the spinning disco ball sprinkles colorful light out into the darkness.
|Jen Burleigh-Bentz and Emily Scinto|
(photo by Boo Creative)
It's rare that I see a show not knowing who's in the cast, and I was pleasantly surprised at all of the familiar names I saw when I opened the program. The three dads couldn't be better cast - Sean Dooley is wonderful as always as Donna's love interest Sam, Charles Fraser is charmingly British as head-banger Harry, and Reed Sigmund is endlessly entertaining as world traveler Bill. His duet with the equally fantastic Lynnea Doublette as Rosie on "Take a Chance on Me" is so much fun it that it almost stole the show (including a pretty great pratfall by Reed, natch). The talented cast also includes recent returnee to #TCTheater Kristina Mitchell as Tanya, and one of Lyric Arts' New Voices Mitchell Douglas as the charismatic Sky.
Calyssa Hall directed and designed the show, and really accomplishes that feeling of joy and energy and movement. Choreographer Dorian Brooke has created some really fun dance numbers throughout the show and especially during the post-curtain call songs, which is kinda the best part of the show, and makes you want to join in. Music Director Jean Orbison Van Heel leads the on-stage seven-piece band and really brings these familiar and beloved songs to life.
It's been a really long and difficult 16+months, especially for artists and those of us who rely on artists for our sanity, and Zephyr Theatre' production of Mamma Mia! truly feels like a joyful celebration of the return of theater. If we all work together and get vaccinated, encourage everyone we know to get vaccinated, and wear a mask where required, maybe, just maybe, we'll really get through this and have a successful 2021-2022 #TCTheater season.
To everyone involved in this show, and all artists in general:
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singingThanks for all the joy they're bringingWho can live without it? I ask in all honestyWhat would life be?Without a song or a dance, what are we?So I say thank you for the musicFor giving it to me
|Broadway by the Bridge (photo credit: @cherryandspoon Instagram)|