Last night, the North Carolina Theatre‘s production of Mamma Mia! brought the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium audience to its feet for multiple standing ovations. In fact, it had folks dancing in the aisles at Memorial Auditorium, where it runs through Sunday, Feb. 17th.
Written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the music of the popular Swedish band ABBA, Mamma Mia! features hit songs by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, with additional lyrics by Stig Anderson. ABBA’s pop songs, which marry danceable rhythm with giddy love and devastating heartbreak, are woven into our national consciousness.
The musical includes such hits as: “Honey Honey,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Dancing Queen,” “Winner Takes It All” and, of course, the title tune. It tells the story of 20-year-old Sophie (Mary Mattison), the night before her wedding to Sky (Erick Patrick). Her single mother Donna (Raleigh-born Broadway veteran Lauren Kennedy) is in for a surprise when Sophie, who has never known her father, invites three possible fathers that she found in her mother’s diary. The three men — Bill Austin (Estes Tarver), Sam Carmichael (Charlie Brady), and Harry Bright (Gary Milner) — all meet in the Greek taverna that Donna manages; and each man remembers the fond times that he had with Donna.
Donna is joined by her two best friends and former bandmates, Tanya (Stephanie Pope) and Rosie (Lulu Picart). The trio once raised a lot of mischief together. The comic bond between Pope and Picart kept the audience in stitches. Also, the vocal range of Pope was amazing.
The story line is very basic and, in a way, has a somewhat Taming-of-the-Shrew aspect for the character of Donna. Despite the sparse dialogue, NCT producing artistic director Eric Woodall did a great job of navigating his cast through moments while keeping the mood lighthearted and fun. Choreographer Monica Kapoor kept the cast moving with high-octane intensity. The song “Does Your Mother Know” offered a fun, flirtatious battle of women versus men that included a dance off.
Watching NCT’s Mamma Mia! is like listening to your old records or listening your parents’ music in the car. It’s not life changing, but it is fun and nostalgic. It is family friendly.
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 13th Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Roy C. Dicks: https://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=9282; Feb. 13th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh BWW Review by Jeffrey Kare: https://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Review-North-Carolina-Theatres-MAMMA-MIA-20190213 and Feb. 5th BWW Interview with actress Mary Mattison, conducted by Jeffrey Kare: https://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interview-Mary-Mattison-of-North-Carolina-Theatres-MAMMA-MIA-20190205; and Feb. 10th Cary, NC RDU on Stage podcast interview with director Eric Woodall and actors Lauren Kennedy and Charlie Brady, conducted by Lauren Van Hemert: https://rduonstage.com/podcast/podcast-ep-5-super-troupers-eric-woodall-lauren-kennedy-and-charlie-brady-talk-love-abba-and-nc-theatres-mamma-mia/;
The North Carolina Theatre presents MAMMA MIA!, starring Lauren Kennedy as Donna, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13-15 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $25 and up, plus taxes and fees. Click here for details about $25 college-student tickets.
NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or http://www.nctheatre.com/tickets/season-tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or https://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/369155/2492448.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C–xeqpBA-0.
2018-19 SEASON: https://nctheatre.com/show-season/201819-season.
PRESENTER: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.
NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16th, performance; and NCT will offer sign-language interpretation at the show’s 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17th, performance. For details, telephone 919-831-6941 or e-mail email@example.com.
Mamma Mia! (1999 West End and 2001 Broadway musical): http://www.mamma-mia.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/mamma-mia-10610 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/MammaMiaMusical (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/MammaMiaMusical (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamma_Mia! (Wikipedia).
Study Guide: http://broadwayeducators.com/mamma-mia/ (Broadway Educators.com).
Mamma Mia! (2008 film): http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/mamma-mia-the-movie/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0795421/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamma_Mia!_%28film%29 (Wikipedia).
Björn Ulvaeus (music and lyrics): https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/bjrn-ulvaeus-12514 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0880744/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bj%C3%B6rn_Ulvaeus (Wikipedia).
Benny Andersson (music and lyrics): https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/benny-andersson-11314 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0027630/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Andersson (Wikipedia).
Stig Anderson (lyrics): https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/stig-anderson-90544 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0027832/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stig_Anderson (Wikipedia).
Catherine Johnson (book): https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/catherine-johnson-84809 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0424735/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Johnson (Wikipedia).
Eric Woodall (director and NCT producing artistic director): http://www.ericwoodall.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/eric-woodall-90124 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0940106/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://www.facebook.com/eric.woodall.98 (Facebook page).
Shannon Plummer-White is no stranger to the stage! She studied Musical Theater & Opera at the American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City, and has appeared in films such as Iron Man 3 and Safe Haven. She has also performed with the North Carolina Master Chorale and the North Carolina Symphony. When she isn’t on stage or making magic behind the scenes, she can be found in the art studio playing with fire and molten glass. She is an animal advocate with a special love of cats. She has four rescued fur children and a very supportive husband. Click here to read her reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.