Drayton Entertainment is asking audiences to “Take a Chance on Me” with their staging of the long-running Broadway show Mamma Mia!
After 14 years singing ABBA classics like “Money, Money, Money,” and “Super Trouper,” on Broadway stages around the world, the rights to the show have become public domain, and staff at Drayton Entertainment jumped at the chance to perform the upbeat, familiar and family-oriented show. They are the first regional theatre company in the country to put the musical on stage.
Director and choreographer David Connolly says the story, mixed with the music, is what makes the show so popular, and such fun to perform in front of an audience.
The musical starts out on an ethereal Greek island, where soon to be married Sophie, played by Danielle Wade, invites three men, all who could be her father, to her wedding to fiancé Sky – much to her mother Donna’s (Blythe Wilson) surprise. And, predictably, hijinx ensue, all to a soundtrack of hit songs by world-famous Swedish pop group ABBA.
“I think it is a combination of really great music that you have a strong identification with. It takes you back to a time and a place that you remember,” said Connolly. “And, then it is also a story about family. Usually, more often than not, a musical about family is going to be a success because we can all relate to the identity of what our relationships are like. It makes you reflect. That combination made it a success.”
And of course, there are the colourful and glittery costumes.
Fresh from her own performances on Broadway, Wilson takes on the role of Donna, and Connolly says they couldn’t have asked for a better leading lady.
“She has just returned from New York where she performed as Mary Poppins. Before that she was at the Stratford Festival. She is a seasoned veteran,” he said.Wade plays Sophie, who just wants to know who her father really is before she gets married. The actor and singer is no stranger to belting it out on stage. She won CBC’s television talent search Over The Rainbow – the hunt for a big talent to play Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard Of Oz.
The cast is rounded out with Colin Sheen as Sophie’s fiancé Sky, Matt Palmer, Michael Killinger and Mark Harapiak as Sophie’s potential fathers and Jackie Mustakas and Jenni Burke as Donna’s two former band mates and best friends, Tanya and Rosie.
The Drayton Entertainment production of Mamma Mia! had its opening night on Mar. 22, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of performances with seats waiting for an audience. The show runs at Cambridge’s Dunfield Theatre until May 7, with a second run from May 12 to 28 at the Drayton Festival Theatre.
Tickets are $44 for adults and $26 for students. They can be purchased online at www.draytonentertainment.com, or at the Drayton Entertainment box office by calling 1-855-DRAYTON.