‘Mamma Mia’ to be performed on many area stages

In a moment of sheer excitement or surprise, anyone — even those without any Italian ancestry — might exclaim “Mamma Mia.” But these days, local and regional theatergoers might say “Mamma Mia” for completely different reasons.

The powerhouse, fun-filled musical, based upon the songs of ABBA, has been a hand-clapping, dancing-in-the-aisles phenomenon still debuting on Broadway in 1999.

Now almost 20 years later, “Mamma Mia,” is still a musical with amazing appeal. Although it closed its run on the Great White Way in 2015 after 14 years, making it the ninth-longest musical in Broadway history, “Mamma Mia” holds another noteworthy distinction.

The distributors have released production rights for “Mamma Mia” not only to Equity and other professional touring companies, but also to community theater groups, and even to high schools — all basically at the same time. So, several local and area groups have seized the opportunity to stage “Mamma Mia” this spring and summer.

On a small Greek island, young Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding and, unbeknown to her mother, invites three men to give her away, sure that one of them will turn out to be her father.

Included in the catchy score are popular tunes including “Take A Chance On Me,” “Thank You For the Music,” and “The Winner Takes It All”.

PROFESSIONAL THEATER

Millbrook Playhouse’s David Leidholdt, producing artistic director, has scheduled “Mamma Mia” as the second MainStage attraction of its 2019 sumer stock season. The highly anticipated musical will run at Mill Hall’s old barn theater from June 26 through July 6.

COMMUNITY THEATERS

RiverStage Community Theatre, located at Greenspace Center, 815 Market St., Lewisburg, will hold open auditions for “Mamma Mia” from 7-9 p.m. April 14-15. Doug Powers-Black is the show’s director, with Diane Scott serving as music director. Playing dates are June 21-22 and June 28-30.

Wellsboro’s Hamilton-Gibson is also eyeing “Mamma Mia” for production this summer. H-G’s Thomas Putnam, who serves as artistic director, confirms that Tioga County’s community theater will stage “Mamma Mia” in Straughn Auditorium on the Mansfield University campus on July 12-13 and July 20-21.

HIGH SCHOOLS

Central Columbia High School — Of the trio of area high schools presenting “Mamma Mia,” Central Columbia has the only entry in the Community Theatre League’s annual Ray of Light competition. Last year’s ROL winner for “Les Miserables,” Central Columbia had four sold-out performances of this jukebox musical in late February and early March.

Williamsport Area High School — The mega-hit, with an infectious score and lovable characters, had over 50 students participating as the WAHS Music Department presented “Mamma Mia” on March 15-16.

Montgomery High School — Under the auspices of Virtuoso, the extra-curricular music and theatre ensemble open to grades 8 through 12, Montgomery High School is in rehearsal for its version of “Mamma Mia,” which will be presented on April 26-28.

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