It took 18 months, but Free-Rain Theatre Company's production of Mamma Mia! has finally made it to the stage. After a couple of previews, it will open at the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
Producer Anne Somes saidMamma Mia!, featuring 22 ABBA songs,was the ideal show to celebrate the return of 100 per cent capacity to theatres after the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is exactly the right vehicle for people who want to escape," she said.
"The previews have gone extremely well. It's a very interesting cross-section of people who come to see a production like this ... including a lot of young people."
It's the first ACT-area production of the ABBA jukebox musical, the international success of which is in large part a testament to the enduring appeal of the Swedish pop group.
Mamma Mia!, written by Catherine Johnson, is set in 1999 on a Greek island. Sophie (played by Charlotte Gearside) is getting ready to marry her fiance Sky (Will Collett).
She wants her father to walk her down the aisle but her mother Donna (Louiza Blomfield), a former musician who runs a taverna, has raised her alone and won't discuss the subject.
Sophie sneaks a look at her mother's old diary and discovers there are three possibilities - Sam (Isaac Gordon), Harry (Mark Maconachie) and Bill (Paul Sweeney). She surreptitiously tracks down and invites the men hoping to discover which one is her father.
The score helping tell this story is made up of classics such as Dancing Queen, Honey Honey and Money Money Money.
Director Jarrad West said the show had been in rehearsal for months when the pandemic restrictions came in just weeks before the show was set to open last year.
He said that as soon as it was possible, "We got together for monthly rehearsals which helped keep the cast together."
Only a few actors had to leave because of the extended hiatus.
For many of the cast members Mamma Mia! marked their opportunity to be on stage since 2019.
West said, "After 18 months we're thrilled to be fully back in the theatre, doing what we love in front of an audience again."
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