by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
The music of ABBA is coming to the big stage at the Rogers City Community Theatre. The play “Mamma Mia!” opens tonight (Thursday) for an eight-show run. ABBA, the four-member Swedish group that scored big hits with “SOS,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Super Trooper,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Dancing Queen,” and others were among the most popular musical groups of the 1970s.
The play debuted in London in 1999 and then on Broadway in 2001 where it ran for 5,773 shows until closing in 2015. The play was turned into a feature film starring Meryl Streep and later spun off a sequel.
“Musically, the ‘Mamma Mia!’ score was difficult to read and follow the score with some different harmonies, but we are blessed with musical director Deanna Karsten to help us through it all, along with an all-star group of assistant directors/producers, Riconda Lamb, Karl W. Heidemann, Val Schalk, Katy Conklin and Ashley Nowicki. It always amazes me how much talent we have in this community,” said director Mike Marx.
This is not the first musical Marx has directed, but the first director’s role he has filled since suffering a stroke in March 2016. He directed “The Sound of Music” performed locally in 2010.
Marx faced the chore of “overcoming my own challenges,” he said, as well as the task of staging the popular musical. Marx has appeared in many local productions over the years. His most famous roles were his portrayal of the lead, Pseudolus in “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum” and Albert Soady in “Escanaba in Da Moonlight.” He returned to the stage last year in the comedy “Beer For Breakfast.”
“Thanks to all of them for their time and hard work for creating a great show! It doesn’t hurt that we are on a Greek resort island beach singing and dancing, while everyone else is shoveling snow,” he said.
The cast features Carly Claus as Sophie Sheridan; Carrie Wilson as Donna Sheridan; Pennie Hoeft as Rosie; and Theresa Gibson as Tanya. Other cast members include Lawrence Anderson as Harry Bright; Dave Miller as Bill Austin; Ed Perrault as Sam Carmichael; and Gary Benson as Sky.
Sophie’s best friends are portrayed by Ashley Nowicki and Emmalyn Riddle. Bob Starnes IV plays barman Pepper and Austin Arkwood portrays Eddie.
Other cast members include Hope Faith, Charlotte Heidemann, Elaine Heidemann, Deanna Karsten, Baylee Lijewski, Alison Marx, Darlene Nowicki, Denise Perrault, Caitlynn Shadbolt, Val Schalk, Fallon Schulte and Brittany VanderWall.
Mike Marx will do a cameo as Fr. Alexandrios.
Other crew members include Riconda Lamb as producer while Karl W. Heidemann is assistant director and is responsible for set design. VanderWall will serve as stage manager with assistance from Jodi Kamyszek.
Assisting with choreography were Karl W. Heidemann, Ashley Nowicki, Ava Kelly and Kelleigh Lamb.
Additional technical crew members are Noah Hanson, Brooke Ganske, Aislinn Schalk, Katy Conklin and Justice Cuddie.
The play will be presented Thursday through Sunday, March 7-10 and again March 14-17 with performances starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
The play was written by Catherine Johnson with music by ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. It has been performed in 50 countries in six continents throughout the world.
Tickets available at th door. Advance tickets are available at the Presque Isle County Advance office, firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 708-808-7288. Specific attendance dates need to be confirmed.
by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor