You can expect a few things when you see the beloved musical “Mamma Mia,” whether that is on Broadway or at a local high school.
One is that you will not be able to stop smiling as you sing along with the songs. The other is you will be profoundly touched by a few of the more poignant songs. The Vashon High School production does both of those things very adroitly, leaving fans smiling, tapping their feet and feeling moved.
You can still see the production, which continues this weekend at the high school.
As many know, “Mamma Mia” is a showstopper of a musical that is broadly known not only for its worldwide theatrical success, but also because of the blockbuster Meryl Streep movie version. The show serves up earworm Abba songs that you cannot stop singing when you leave the theater. Directing the cast is the high school’s own Stephen Floyd. The true shocker is that a majority of the cast were freshmen, which is astounding, given the number of songs and choreography in the musical. The young cast stepped up and had a great time with the juicy material.
The stand-out of the show is Sedona Deck as Donna (the Meryl Streep character in the movie), who gave her up rock ‘n roll ways long ago and toils on an island in Greece as an innkeeper. Deck has graced a few productions on the island in the last few years and does well on both the fun and touching numbers with her vibrant voice and good sense of pitch. The other stand-out is Ava Woo, who plays daughter Sophie, trying to find which of her mom’s three summer romances from long ago is her father. Woo has a fabulous voice and very winning stage presence. When Deck or Woo or on the stage, the numbers are stronger for their musical presence. Woo especially kills the famous “I Have a Dream,” which opens and closes the show.
The “men” in Donna’s life are all able and funny, with good chemistry and some nice singing voices in the mix. A stand-out was Joel Wiegner, who plays Sam Carmichael (played in the film by Pierce Brosnan). He had a great sense of humor for the part, and the crowd loved him. Another stand-out was freshman Mo Sennott as Sophie’s fiancé Sky, who had a clear singing voice and good chemistry with Woo.
My favorite numbers were the hysterical “Lay all Your Love on Me” (when the boys in the cast come dancing onto the stage with flippers on their feet) and “Slipping Through my Fingers,” which gave Deck a great chance to prepare Woo for her wedding and sing about how fast she grew up. I heard quite a few sniffles in the crowd.
Floyd said the cast worked hard on the production, with a few of them sick during the Mother’s Day performance (one young performer had to stay home, and there was a quick casting change). He said there is a great future for the theater program at the high school, with mostly underclassmen in the show. This Friday night is a fundraiser for the Vashon Schools Foundation. There will be a Family Feast before the show from 5 to 7 p.m. and then the show. Cost of the meal is $10 before the show. The foundation is calling the evening “Dinner and a Show.”
And Saturday night is also a show to see, with a fundraiser during intermission that includes desserts and an art auction for the high school theater program.
The performance of the show last weekend was not perfect, with a few missed notes in the numbers for some of the singers. But that is just a slight challenge is a wonderfully entertaining show. “Mamma Mia” is, in the end, the ultimate crowd pleaser. The songs remind many of us of our youth and stick with us. And beyond that, its message is powerful. Go and see “Mamma Mia” and the enjoy the pure pleasure of watching these students sing about their dreams.
“Mamma Mia” plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, are available at the Vashon Bookshop, the VHS office and at the door.