There is a reason Mamma Mia! has visited the Orpheum so many times. It’s one of Broadway’s most famous musicals, filled with love, laughter, and amazing songs from ABBA. Director Phyllida Lloyd did a fantastic job. The show is about a girl named Sophie Sheridan and her mother Donna Sheridan and their time before the big wedding day for Sophie. This old classic doesn't change when it comes to details between the movie musical and the stage musical.
In every show there is a certain character that carries the show. I thought that Betsy Padamonsky playing the role of Donna did that. She was poised and had complete confidence throughout the show. Of course that's how Donna is as a character and I was very impressed on her vocal range and strength during the ballads. I was not a fan of the character choices Lizzie Markson played for the role of Sophie, but overall I didn't notice it too much. The ensemble were very good dancers singers and made every transition very smooth. Sarah Smith who played Rosie and Cashelle Butler who played Tanya were awesome together and were a perfect duo. They were hilarious and killed it in “Dancing Queen.” They really brought raw humor into the show. They took risks and were fun to watch during the trio’s song “Super Trouper.” The big dance numbers choreographed by Anthony Van Laast were vibrant and showed off all the fun in Mamma Mia!
Walking into the theatre you see an electronic screen with what looks like blue waves. If you know the show and the storyline it seemed to have a secret meaning to it. Like its the waves around the little island in Greece where the show takes place. When the show began there was like 30 bars of just straight music playing then the screen lifted. At first I thought it was a technical error until the same thing happened at intermission and I realized it was intentional. Maybe the music was giving the audience time to find their seats but I thought it was oddly placed and immediately made me think something was going wrong. The set was simple, white cycladic houses and very detailed props. The lighting didn't stand out a lot during the show but it set a nice calming aesthetic. The lights went crazy in all sorts of colors for the song “Under Attack” which gave that number good stress and a sense of urgency. I thought the costumes were beautiful and all complimented each other. In the wedding scene all the guest wore all sorts of pink, peach, and orange and it was very pleasing.
Overall the show was really well done and I left the theatre with a smile on my face. The musical numbers are classics and all I wanted to do was jump out of my seat and sing along. The curtain call felt like a little mini concert and it was all kinds of fun. The people around me were on their feet singing and dancing. You can never go wrong with some of the top hits from ABBA. The show is filled with talent and songs that will stick in your head for weeks on end. Go see Mamma Mia! at the Orpheum theatre until this Sunday February 12th. It's a beautiful farewell tour that you wouldn't want to miss.