Mamma Mia! Review - The Sunshine Musical

MAMMA MIA! is much more than a feel-good musical theater experience.  It is a feel-great play based on many hit songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA, magically combined with a story celebrating mother-daughter relationships, new love, old romances and marriage.   It is musical theater at its best, bringing the happy audience to their feet, as they dance, applaud and sing together with the cast as the show ends in a truly joyous grand finale.

Sophie reads her mom's old diary

Can you tell that I loved MAMMA MIA!?  I have already seen the play on Broadway, and watched the movie several times.  I can't get enough ABBA.

Benny Andersson and  Björn Ulvaeus 's MAMMA MIA! is currently in performance here in Chicagoland at the Rosemont Theatre for one week only - from January 19 to January 24, 2010.

The story, set on a beautiful small Greek island, features independent, feisty single mother, Donna Sheridan preparing last-minute details for her daughter’s wedding day.

Tanya dances up a storm

Sophie Sheridan, her young, free-spirited daughter, has read her mother’s old diaries, only to discover that one of Donna’s three former suitors is her long-lost father.  Sophie has never been told which boyfriend is really her father, so she secretly invites all three to her wedding.  She is determined to discover who her real father is, so that he will escort her down the wedding aisle.

Donna’s two best lifelong girlfriends – sassy, no-nonsense Rosie and wealthy, fancy, high maintenance, and three-times-divorced Tanya – add their advice, encouragement, and humor so Donna will not crumble when she learns that her long-gone lovers, Sam, Bill and Harry, will also be at the wedding. 

MAMMA MIA! is a romantic, dramatic, humorous, song-filled play, featuring many surprising twists and turns to keep the audience thoroughly engaged and entertained.

The future bride and groom

The talented cast sings and dances to many ABBA’s hit tunes of the 1970s and early 1980s.  There are over 20 well-loved ABBA songs including Dancing Queen; I Have A Dream; S.O.S.; Money, Money, Money; Take A Chance on Me; The Winner Takes It All and one of the many show-stoppers, MAMMA MIA.  It’s difficult to choose a favorite ABBA song in this musical, as they have all been major singing successes over the past 40 years. 

The cast combines many talented actors, singers and dancers.  Michelle Dawson is a superb Donna Sheridan (the mother); Liana Hunt brings her National Tour debut to fascinating life as Sophie Sheridan (the daughter). 

Donna’s two best friends add spiciness and plentiful humor to the set.  Kittra Wynn Coomer is appropriately cast as Rosie as she belts out some of the many terrific songs along with funny acting and dancing shtick.

Will the real father come forward?

Rachel Tyler is brilliant as Tanya, the high-maintenance diva who likes men and marriage a bit more than most of us. 

John Hemphill (Sam Carmichael), Martin Kildare (Bill Austin) and Michael Aaron Lindner (Harry Bright) flawlessly play Donna’s former beaus. Each is as different from each other as day is to night, but their combined singing, dancing and acting skills add plenty of enjoyable romance to the story.

Adam Jacobs is Sophie’s soon-to-be groom.  In addition to his talents as a great singer and dancer, he is quite the good looker who swoons many of the younger audience members.  The Ensemble group rounds out the cast of singers, dancers and actors.

Donna and friends singing and dancing

MAMMA MIA! owes its success to many talented collaborators.  Judy Cramer is the producer who brought the songs and story together; Phyllida Lloyd is the director and Catherine Johnson wrote the book this blockbuster is based on. 

The best proof that MAMMA MIA! is a global smash hit musical is the appreciative audience. The 4,200 seat Rosemont Theatre features a joy-filled audience, who stands up, shouts out, sings and sways with the cast during the grand finale of some of ABBA’s most popular songs.  This is a feel-great show viewers wish would never end!

Tickets for performances are currently on sale and range in price from $30
- $80. Tickets are available at the Rosemont Theatre Box Office (5400
North River Road, Rosemont), through the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line
at (800) 775-2000, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Hot Tix
and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores) or online at  Groups of 15 or more should call (312) 977-1710.
Performances of MAMMA MIA! are as follows:
Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 20 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 22 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 23 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 24 at 2:00 p.m.
Produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East and Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in
association with Universal, the creative team responsible for bringing
MAMMA MIA! to theatrical life includes some of the most gifted and
celebrated talents of musical theatre and opera. With music and lyrics by
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine
Johnson and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. MAMMA MIA! has choreography by
Anthony Van Laast, production design by Mark Thompson, lighting design by
Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken, and
musical supervision, additional material and arrangements by Martin Koch.
The special edition cast recording of MAMMA MIA! is available on Decca

Photos: Carol Rosegg



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