How can we resist it?
After years of ABBA-sence, “MAMMA MIA!” will once again show Milwaukee audiences the time of their lives’. The long-running jukebox musical will begin performances Friday, February 20 at the Marcus Center of Preforming Arts.
Whether you’ve endured a loved one’s pitchy rendition or think you have never heard an ABBA song before (and trust me, you have), actress Chelsea Williams knows you’ll be singing along by the finale.
Williams stars as Sophie, a young bride-to-be. The role was played by Amanda Seyfried in the hit 2008 film adaptation. Days before her wedding, Sophie discovers her absentee father is one of three men from her mother’s free-spirited past. Sophie takes a chance and invites the group to her island wedding to the hilarious surprise of her mother, Donna.
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ timeless pop music is performed as never before to tell this charming story about love, youth and the wonders of spandex.
Among the cast’s favorite musical numbers are, “Thank You For the Music,” a charming quartet between Sophie and her potential fathers and “Lay All Your Love on Me.” The latter features the male ensemble dancing about the stage in the show’s most, eh hem, minimal costumes. “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”, indeed!
The tour’s stop in Milwaukee is especially significant for Rebecca Mason-Wygal (Donna), a former ensemble member and understudy turned lead actress. The Los Angeles native feels “very lucky” to co-lead the show for its run at the Marcus Center.
As an ensemble member, Mason-Wygal performed in the show every night while juggling the scenes and choreography of Donna in her mind. The two-year MAMMA! veteran stresses that every member of the show’s “wildly talented” ensemble must tackle a similar challenge with each performance. Should a principle actor need to break from the show, the entire cast must adapt and steady the rhythm of an uncertain performance.
Mason-Wygal, Williams and the entire cast of “MAMMA MIA!” perform eight demanding shows a week with the stress of traveling every five or six days. The company must weigh their priorities and maintain hard discipline on the road. Milwaukee’s brewery tours will have to wait another season for the cast to pay a visit.
Chelsea Williams (Sophie) rose rather quickly in the “MAMMA MIA!” ranks. The actress was cast in the principal role shortly after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. She reminds students of theatre that, “success happens differently for everyone and it never happens the way you will think it will.”
The energetic cast of “MAMMA MIA!” performs at the Marcus Center Friday, February 20 at 8 pm, Saturday, February 21 at 2 pm and 8 pm, with final performances set for Sunday, February 22 at 1 pm and 6:30 pm.
Tickets are available at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 North Water Street, by phone at 414-273-7206, or online at MarcusCenter.org or Ticketmaster.com.
For Milwaukee’s most frugal students, the Marcus Center offers lottery rush tickets for $25. These select tickets are subject to availability and must be purchased with cash. The lottery will open two hours prior to each show for those with proof of high school or college ID.