‘Mamma Mia!’ cast packs talent and experience

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Rehearsing for Madison County Arts Council’s production of “Mamma Mia!” are: (from left) Ciera Bierbaugh as Tanya, Denise Bloomfield as Donna, Sherry Holland as Rosie, and Ruth Peart as Sophie.

(Posted July 14, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The music of ABBA will come to life in the Joyce Hildebrand Auditorium at London High School as the Madison County Arts Council presents the musical, “Mamma Mia!”, July 21-23.

Songs from the Swedish pop group, popular in the 1970s and ‘80s, provide the framework for a mother-daughter story that takes place on a fictional Greek island. The daughter, Sophie (played by Ruth Peart), is preparing to marry Sky (Aaron Gates). She wants her father to walk her down the aisle, but she doesn’t know who her father is. After reading her mother’s diary, Sophie narrows the possibilities to three: Sam (Nathan Haley), Harry (Cory Mitchell), and Bill (Paul Oswalt). She invites all three to the wedding.

As events unfold, the audience gets to know Sophie’s mother, Donna (Denise Bloomfield), and her mother’s friends, Tanya (Ciera Bierbaugh) and Rosie (Sherry Holland). In the end, mother and daughter make peace with each other and themselves.

Danielle Fredette, who is directing the show with Kevin Lohr, said she is very pleased with lead actors’ performances, adding that they bring a lot of experience to the production.

“We’re happy we had the option to cast these people and that they were willing to come and do this community show,” Fredette said, noting that the most of the 30-member cast hails from the Madison County area. “More than one of them has a music degree, one has an acting degree, and all of them have been in lots of shows before.”

She praised the talent of the actors who make up the chorus, too, and is excited to showcase their talents in ways that differ from the original production of “Mamma Mia!”

“In the original, they used a pit chorus. They weren’t on stage at all; they were in the orchestra pit,” Fredette explained. “We’re using the ensemble a little differently. We’re going for a ‘70s Greek/dream chorus kind of look, where those actors will be on stage for some songs in hopefully creative and fun ways.”

Among the well-known tunes incorporated into the show are the title track, “Mamma Mia!,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Voulez-Vous.” Great dance numbers accompany the likes of “Dancing Queen,” “Does Your Mother Know?” and “Under Attack.”

Joining Fredette and Lohr in putting on the show are Scott Blanton on set design and construction, Billy Ruhlen on lights and sound, and Shannon Treynor as rehearsal accompanist and pit orchestra organizer.

Show time for all three nights is 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students in high school or younger. Go to madisoncountyartscouncil.org to purchase tickets. They will be available for pickup at a will-call station at the shows.

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