Songs of the ’70s will be filling the halls of Sardis secondary this week as the school’s theatre department presents ABBA-inspired musical Mamma Mia! from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7.
The story was written by British playwright Catherine Johnson 20 years ago, decades after the Swedish pop supergroup stopped performing. It became a smash hit on Broadway and then the movie, starring Meryl Streep, followed in 2008.
Teacher Alison Guy said the amateur rights to the production finally became available this year.
“We’ve been trying to get this for literally 10 to 15 years,” Guy said.
Mamma Mia! is a romantic comedy set in the late 1990s, and it’s a story of bride-to-be Sophie, her mom Donna, and their closest friends and family members.
Sophie “had a lovely upbringing on a Greek Island from her free-spirited single mom,” Guy explains. But “she’s always wondered ‘who am I, who’s my daddy?’”
Unbeknownst to Donna, Sophie has invited to her wedding all three men her mother had sex with during the period coinciding with Sophie’s conception.
The story explores all the things that happen between families at weddings, and the secrets that come out.
“Families are shaped in all kinds of ways and there’s beauty in all kinds of different ways that we love,” Guy said.
The kids are loving the production and the costumes that come with it.
“They are so excited to wear sparkly dresses. They are having a blast with the night club scene… there’s no danger in this,” Guy said. “They can be at a nightclub rocking the sparky outfit but they’re safe in their high school. They’re living their best post-high school life safely onstage.”
Of course, Mamma Mia! is chock-full of ABBA’s greatest hits including Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!; Super Trouper; I Have A Dream; Money, Money, Money; and Lay All Your Love on Me.
All of the music will be played live by a six-piece band that will be onstage throughout the entire show. The band consists of two teachers and four students.
“It’s a lovely story. It’s about families — families we choose and families we don’t choose, and acceptance. Accepting that you love somebody because you love somebody, not because they are not your blood relative. You love them for how they fit into your life,” Guy said.
The Mamma Mia! cast is made up of about 25 high school actors. The role of Sophie will be played by Ellie Jesus while Faith Charland is Donna. Other cast members are: Caleb Hunter as Sophie’s fiancé Sky, Johnny Dahl (Bill), Davin Wiebe (Sam), Sean Scott and Calvin Belanger share the role of Harry, Lauryn Werner (Tanya), Marley Galea and Nicole Lakey share the role of Rosie, Jordyn Baginski (Lisa), and Kyla Lands (Ali).
Crew includes director Alison Guy, vocal director Kevin Biegle, producer and band leader Kris Werner, choreographers Courtney Dalton and Karen Mason-Albert, and stage manager Jorja Van Winkle.
Sardis secondary’s production of Mamma Mia! runs Tuesday, Dec. 3 to Saturday, Dec. 7. Show times are: Dec. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. Matinee is Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets $15 (matinee $10) and available at the school office (45460 Stevenson Rd., 604-858-9424) and at London Drugs.
The musical is suitable for kids in middle school and older. There is some coarse language.