Musical Mondays: Mamma Mia!

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Mamma Mia! 

Welcome to part one of my new blog series: Musical Mondays! Yes, I did decide to change the name. I will be trying to post these at least every other Monday. I am so excited to start this series with a musical that is very close to my heart. For some background, I was in a production of Mamma Mia! whenever the world shutdown in 2020. We were 8 days away from opening night when the school cancelled our show, and the entire cast was heartbroken. We ended up putting the show on 11 months later, in February 2021 and it was the most amazing feeling to finally perform something that we had all put so much effort into. I was in ensemble for both productions, acting as a Taverna Worker, Islander, and a Wedding Guest during both years, and the second year I also student directed. I will always love this musical because of personal experience, but anyways, lets get into the review.

The Background and Performances

Mamma Mia! is known as a jukebox musical, or a musical where most of the songs are well known popular songs prior to being a part of the musical. The music from Mamma Mia! was originally released by the Swedish group ABBA.

The musical has been performed at the West End starting in April of 1999. It was performed until March 2020, when it was closed due to the pandemic and reopened in August 2021.

Mamma Mia! had its Broadway debut on October 18th, 2001 and was performed on Broadway until September 12th, 2015. It is the 9th longest running musical on Broadway, and the longest running jukebox musical.

Characters and Cast 

Characters In Order of Appearance:

Sophie Sheridan: A free-spirited 21-year-old woman who is determined to find her father before she marries her fiancé.

Original Broadway: Tina Maddigan

Ali/Lisa: Sophie's best friends and bridesmaids.

Original Broadway: Sara Inbar/Tonya Doran

Tanya: Donna's rich and flirty friend, she been married to a few millionaires and has a love for plastic surgery. Former member of "Donna and the Dynamos".

Original Broadway Karen Mason

Rosie: Donna's free-spirted and quirky friend, an unmarried author of cookbooks. Former member of "Donna and the Dynamos".

Original Broadway: Judy Kaye

Donna Sheridan: Sophie's hardworking mother. Owner of the Taverna and former lead singer of "Donna and the Dynamos".

Original Broadway: Louise Pitre

Sky: Sophie's fiancé who fell in love with her charm.

Original Broadway: Joe Manchota

Pepper: Flirty waiter at the Taverna. Has a brief relationship with Tanya.

Original Broadway: Mark Price

Eddie: Waiter and boatman at the Taverna

Original Broadway: Michael B. Washington

Harry Bright: One of Sophie's potential fathers. A respected British Banker who was once a head-banging party animal.

Original Broadway: Dean Nolen

Bill Austin: One of Sophie's potential fathers. A well-known travel writer who generally does not want to settle down and commit to a relationship.

Original Broadway: Nicolas Colicos

Sam Carmichael: One of Sophie's potential fathers. A wealthy architect who left Donna because he was engaged to another woman.

Original Broadway: Hilton McRae.

Plot Synopsis

This is the synopsis of Mamma Mia! according to Stageagent.com:


"On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding — one which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is! Her mother Donna, the former lead singer of the 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands. Sneaking a peek in her mother’s old diaries, she discovers three possible fathers: Sam, Bill, and Harry. She secretly invites all three to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him. But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought! Told through the legendary music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! has become a worldwide sensation that has audiences everywhere dancing."

Music

As mentioned previously, all of the music in this show was written by ABBA. Here is a list of the all of the songs that characters sing during the production. This will not include overtures, playoffs, etc.

"Prelude" - Sophie.

A soft tease to the song that ends the show. Sophie is mailing the wedding invitations to her 3 possible fathers.

"Honey, Honey" - Sophie, Ali, and Lisa.

This is a fun and upbeat song that Sophie uses to tell her friends about her 3 possible dads.

"Money, Money, Money" - Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Pepper, and Ensemble.

This song is the first big dance number of the show. The ensemble is brought onto the stage, usually as tourists and taverna workers, while Donna laments about all of the work she needs to do to keep her business running.

"Thank you for the Music" - Sophie, Sam, Bill, and Harry.

Sophie meets the three men who could all possibly be her father. The 4 start to bond over a love of music.

"Mamma Mia" - Donna and Ensemble.

This song explores Donna's emotions as she is reintroduced to the 3 men that she has not seen in over 20 years. This song is also an opportunity to feature some dancers and ensemble members.

"Chiquitita" - Donna, Tanya, and Rosie.

Donna's friends attempt to comfort her after the she feels horrible about herself due to the events of the last song.

"Dancing Queen" - Donna, Tanya, Rosie, and Ensemble.

This upbeat number is when Donna once again finds her self confidence thanks to her friends. They start to dance around, have fun, and explore their inner youth around the island.

"Lay All Your Love On Me" - Sophie, Sky, and Male Ensemble.

This song is how Sophie and Sky express their love to one another, while being bombarded by the men waiting to attend Sky's bachelor party. This makes for a fun and chaotic number that often features dancing in flippers.

*A fun personal note... During my school's production of Mamma Mia!, we did not have many guys in the cast, so there was a group of girls who got to dress up in baggy khaki shorts, Hawaiian shirts and hats for this number and one other. I was included in this, and I will tell you that pool flippers are very difficult to dance in*

"Super Trouper" - Donna, Tanya, Rosie, and Female Ensemble.

The music group "Donna and the Dynamos" reunites to sing a special song at Sophie's bachelorette party.

"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" - Female Ensemble.

Sophie's bachelorette party gets crazy while Sophie tries to get to know her possible fathers and tries to find out who actually is her dad.

"Name of the Game"  - Sophie and Bill.

Sophie and Bill sings this as Bill figures out that he might be Sophie's father.

"Voulez Vous" - Full Cast.

This fun dance number features the whole cast singing while Sophie tries to talk to Sam, Bill, and Harry. The 3 men all come to assume that they are her father. This is the closing number of act 1.

"Under Attack" - Sophie and Ensemble.

This song starts act 2 in Sophie's nightmare. She is stressed about her life and everything that is happening with Sky, her "dads", her mom, and the wedding.

"One of Us" - Donna.

Donna sings about how she is upset that she has been lonely and had great romances pass her by.

"SOS" - Donna and Sam.
Donna and Sam sing about how they miss each other and how they don't want to go on without one another.

"Does Your Mother Know?" - Tanya, Pepper, and Ensemble.

This hilarious number follows Pepper as he tries to flirt with Tanya and she keeps rejecting him. It make a chaotic and crazy beach dance number.

*I was also dressed as a guy for this number*

"Knowing Me, Knowing You" - Sam.

Sam sings to Sophie, telling her about his failed marriage and the lessons he learned from it.

"Our Last Summer" - Donna and Harry.

Donna and Harry riminess and reflect on their romance in a sweet and fun song.

"Slipping Through My Fingers" - Donna and Sophie.

As she helps Sophie get ready for the wedding, Donna sings about how fast her daughter as grown up, and the two sing about how they wish that they could freeze time together in the moment forever. This song is guaranteed to make the mothers in the audience cry.

"The Winner Takes It All" - Donna.

Donna sings this powerful song about how the world is cruel and she feels like she has lost. She doesn't want to think about what she is losing when Sophie leaves.

"Take a Chance on Me" - Rosie and Bill.

When setting up the wedding chapel, Rosie confesses her love for Bill. Through this goofy song, the two decide that maybe they can be adventurous together.

"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" - Donna, Sam, and Ensemble.

Once Sophie and Sky decide not to get married yet, Sam takes his opportunity to propose to Donna and they end up getting married. This song moves this part of the plot along, and is an overall very happy number.

"I Have a Dream" - Sophie.

This song wraps up the story as Sophie and Sky prepare to leave the island for an adventure. She sings about the people around her and how amazing they are.

The Bows Music!

This musical has numbers that the ensemble sing together after the bows. It is sort of a party and celebration. The 3 numbers are reprises of "Mamma Mia" and "Dancing Queen" along with the song "Waterloo".

The Movie

Mamma Mia! was made into a movie that came out in 2008, starring Amanda Seyfried as Sophie and Meryl Streep as Donna, along with many other famous stars. The movie generally stays pretty close to the plot of the stage musical, omitting a few songs such as "One of Us", "Name of the Game", "Under Attack" and a few others. Some of the Songs were featured in Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again! (2018). Some of the singing in the movies is not the best, so I personally enjoy the stage musical more.

Conclusion 

Overall, Mamma Mia! is a musical that I really enjoy. I have some great personal connections to it, so that might cause me to have some bias. I know that the story is pretty cheesy and predictable, but it will always be close to my heart. When I am feeling down, I put on the soundtrack and remember this amazing production. Overall, I would give this musical a 7.6 / 10, because of the cheesy plot, but catchy music and entertain musical numbers. If done correctly, a production of Mamma Mia! can be a masterpiece for a local theater, professional company, or even a high school drama department.

Put any suggestions for musicals you would like me to review in the comments, I look forward to hearing from you! I hope you enjoyed reading my overview of Mamma Mia!

Have a Very Musical Monday,

Rosie.

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Level 66
Jan 17, 2022
Great blog. Personally I didn't know Abba songs very well, I found myself not as emotionally attached as other die-hard fans in the audience. But otherwise it was a lot of fun.

I'd vote for Kinky Boots for your next blog.

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Level 68
Jan 17, 2022
I really enjoy the musical / movie. Name of the Game is actually in the special edition of the movie if I recall correctly.

This was a good blog though, thanks!

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Level 48
Jan 17, 2022
Name of the Game was a deleted song in the first movie, and we actually in the second.
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Level 70
Jan 17, 2022
I'm definitely a Hamilton fan so I would love to see a blog about that.
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Level 48
Jan 18, 2022
One of my favorites and is on the list for the future
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Level 75
Jan 19, 2022
I grew up listening to music from musicals, my mother was a big fan. Although this was in the '60s and '70s so the musicals were from that era, The Sound Of Music, Paint Your Wagon, South Pacific, Jungle Book etc