Opening night of Mamma Mia at Georgia Tech’s Furst Center was a delight, taking the show to new heights. We always enjoy shows in the intimate setting of the Aurora mainstage, yet seeing Mamma Mia on a larger stage with bigger lights and sound was breathtaking. The energy of the cast was through the roof. Overall, the performance was phenomenal. If you’ve already seen Mamma Mia at the Aurora, don’t hesitate to see it again–it’s worth it, and even though it’s in Atlanta, the parking is FREE. If you haven’t yet seen it, what are you waiting for?
This is a feel-good show with all the great ABBA songs we know and love. You’ll find yourself dancing in your seat and enjoying every minute. Ann Carol Pence’s music direction along with choreography by Ricardo Aponte is showcased beautifully by this very capable ensemble. Kristen Markiton, who plays the lead role of Donna Sheridan has an incredible command of her voice and adds killer runs and riffs and her own style to each song she sings. She’s as talented an actress and dancer as she is a singer, and gives life to this role with her whole heart. Hannah Chuch, as Donna’s daughter Sophie, also provides stunning vocals, acting an dancing. The two look like mother and daughter, which makes the number “Slipping Through My Fingers” a tender tear-jerker and beautiful moment in the story.
This show is chock full of show-stoppers, each one bigger than the other, “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen” among the most famous. While every musical number is fantastic, my personal favorite is the hilarious “Take a Chance” with Marci Millard as Rosie and Travis Smith as Bill Austin. This hilarious number is well played and thoroughly enjoyable.
Other key-noteworthy performers include Terry Henry as Tanya, Greg Frey as Harry Bright, Chris Kayser as Sam Carmichael, and Joseph Pendergrast as Pepper, but the entire cast and ensemble are all incredibly talented.
Walking into the theater to set designer Julie Ray’s greek villa makes one feel as if he or she is on vacation in the Greek isles. Costume Designer Alan Yeong did a splendid job of capturing the essence of styles in 1996. I mentioned to Michele Parisi, winner of the Speakeysie ticket giveaway and my guest for the evening, the bachelorette party scene reminded me of an episode of Full House with the neon, slouch socks, and scrunchies. Lighting designer Kevin Frazier took full advantage of the Neon in the bachelorette scene as well as the dream sequence at the start of act II and set lights that would make the costumes really pop on stage.
You can see Mamma Mia at the Furst Center on the Georgia Tech Campus from now until June 24th. Tickets can be purchased in advance at http://www.auroratheatre.com/ or at the Furst Theatre box office.
–Jody Key — managing editor — firstname.lastname@example.org — 470-330-1499
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