“Mammia Mia” Hits the Big AK

The “Mamma Mia” broadway musical hit Anchorage, Alaska’s Atwood Concert Hall at The Performing Arts Center between Oct. 13 and Oct. 23, where talented actors and actresses alike put on a memorable performance for thousands of Alaskans. When it all bubbles down, the story of the famous broadway production, animated by the “magic of ABBA’s timeless songs” is that of a young girl who seeks to find her true father. She invites three possible men to her wedding, who had ventured to the Greek island 20 years ago and once had romantic relations with her mother. It is an “enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship,” (www.mamma-mia.com) where living your life to the fullest and discovering opportunity and possibility are key themes. On Oct. 22, the theater (Atwood Concert Hall) was packed with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of eager Alaskans. At approximately 8:05 p.m., the main lights dimmed and the music director commenced the show with an ear-ringing number of an ABBA classic, in instrumental form. The music silenced and the first scene appeared with the main character Sophie, played by Chloe Tucker. Other characters, such as Sophie’s husband-to-be, Sky, played by Happy Mahaney; Sophie’s mother, Donna, played by Kaye Tuckerman and many others, all played roles that evoked various emotions from the audience. The characters wore some bizarre costumes in various scenes—retro was most definitely “in.” According to the Anchorage Concert Association program “there are approximately 30,000 rhinestones on the super troupers costumes, all sewn on by hand.” In one scene, the actors, actresses, and dancers of the sort, did a number in neon-colored swimsuits, with swim caps, goggles and even snorkels. “Donna and the Dynamos” (the name of Donna and her two friends’ singing group from 20 years ago) did a number, Super Trouper, in which they wore spandex outfits, with thousands of rhinestones, flared edges and go-go boots. At the end of the play, the characters (actors, actresses and other play participants) came out and took a bow. They deserted the stage, but re-emerged from behind the curtains, where they were decked out in flashy costumes. They sang two up-beat, enthusiastic numbers, which urged the majority of the crowd to rise from their seats, clap along with the music or inadvertently dance. The play, for the most part, fulfilled Alaska citizens’ expectations. Various Dimond students attended the production, all exclaiming positive feelings. The majority of the Dimond attendees, however, were female, as male students seemed opposed to even the idea of attending the show. Kristi Lauwers, a senior at Dimond, says excitedly, “Mamma Mia was legit!” She pointed out that she saw “guys” at the show; however, they were not from Dimond. One of the few Dimond boys who attended the production was French foreign exchange student Damien Fornas, a junior. He said he liked the story, the dancing and the singing. He was unable to compare the show to the movie, as he had not seen the movie. Sophomore Jessica Fontaine shed much light on her opinion of the musical. Fontaine said, “I enjoyed it very much and it was very musical.” She noted that she attained the ABBA CD after she saw the play, because she enjoyed the songs so much. She saw the play as colorful and amusing. Her mother and cousins convinced her to see the show, as she was somewhat opposed to seeing it—she thought it would be “boring.” After Fontaine witnessed the reality of the production, she felt that it was “super fun and good.” Fontaine’s favorite song was “‘Dancing Queen,’ when her [Sophie’s] mom and friends perform at her [Sophie’s] bachelor party.” Fontaine’s overall impression was that “I really enjoyed it.” Alli Machacek, a sophomore, liked the whole thing. She appreciated the music and the role playing and such; however, she said, “I liked the movie better.” “The play was better than the movie, because it made more sense and went with the flow than within the movie,” said sophomore, Samantha Judd. Her favorite part in the show was when the cast sang the song “Mamma Mia,” because she is “in love with the song.” Judd thought the production was fun and “delightful.” If she had another chance to go see the play, she would most definitely take it. Of the crowd’s reaction around her, Judd notes that “[they] enjoyed the play and thought the play was very entertaining because whenever I looked over at people they either had a smile [on] or were laughing.” Judd recommends people to go see the production, as she felt is was “amazing and well directed.” I thought the performance was well directed and very entertaining. The singers had fabulous voices, which matched the tone of the songs they performed. My favorite parts of the play were the flashy, fun costumes and the up-beat songs you could dance to. Overall, the “Mammia Mia” production, having spanned over 270 major cities made a crash in Anchorage, Alaska. The musical pleased many, making some reach their arms out, in want of more “love, laughter, and friendship.”