February 16 through 21, 2010
Reviewed by Robert Strasser
Mamma Mia! (I think I have to keep the exclamation point) has been going strong for ten years. The large amount of facts in the press packet prove that. Plus there's a movie staring lots of Hollywood stars. I'm pretty sure Mamma Mia! will survive this review unscathed.
Before we get into this review I have to confess I know nothing about ABBA. "Dancing Queen" rings a bell when I hear it, but I'd be hard press to tell you the group that sings it... Until now. It's ABBA. All the songs in the musical are ABBA's. It seems important to know its based on the songs of ABBA, so if you leave here with nothing else the name ABBA will be ingrained in your brain.
There is more of a plot than I expected for a musical based on the songs of ABBA. It involves a daughter's wedding and her quest to find her father. It's not really a quest, because all she does is invite the three leading candidates to her wedding. They all show up. Now she must sort out who is her father without letting her mother know that's what she's doing. The bride's name is Sophie Sheridan, the only daughter of Donna. Donna owns a small inn on a Greek isle, and the wedding is taking place there. I liked the set up. The potential for some good French farce abounds. Alas, there is no scene late at night with people repeatedly popping in and out of bedroom doors as they tried to hide their whereabouts from each other. ABBA write a song about doors, please.
Michelle Dawson plays Donna, and she has the pipes to tackle the songs of ABBA. Liana Hunt plays her daughter Sophie. Ms. Hunt's voice is a little weak, but she manages the job of looking adorable just fine. Donna's old back-up singers show up and they are great comic relief. Kittra Wynn Coomer and Rachel Tyler are great as the wise cracking cougars.
As a whole, the choreography was nothing special, but some of the bigger dance numbers had a good amount of energy.
The second act takes itself a little too seriously, and things get melodramatic in a hurry. There are more ballads in this part, and I seem to enjoy dancing ABBA more then sentimental ABBA.
Mamma Mia! runs through February 21st at the Fox Theatre. For more information, you may call 314-534-1111.