Marie is an actor, writer, and carbohydrate enthusiast. She's passionate about streaming t.v. shows online, coffee, Diane Keaton, true crime stories, and Kansas City sports. In her spare time, you can find her hanging out in Lincoln Square, not causing much trouble.
Photo: McKinley Carter, Susie McMonagle, Elizabeth Ledo | Brett Beiner
by Marie Warner
MAMMA MIA! Is absolute fluff. It’s a jukebox musical featuring the music of ABBA, for Pete’s sake. And I am here for it. Sometimes all you want is a romp through a mythical Greek island in a flashy bell-bottom jumpsuit.
MAMMA MIA! Is the story of Sophie, who has discovered that the father she never knew could be one of three options. Without her mother’s knowledge, she invites the three potential fathers to attend her wedding on an unnamed Greek island. Meanwhile, Sophie’s mother Donna must manage the return of three old flames and her feelings about the wedding. Hilarity—and ABBA music—naturally ensue.
Drury Lane Theatre’s production is the perfect escape for a dreary February night. Jeff Kmiec’s set is a series of dismantled sails and driftwood structures awash in blues and greens, and the cast is an unnaturally beautiful collection of talented people.
Susie McMonagle is a powerhouse as Donna. She has such a great voice and gets to shine in so many numbers, but particularly in the poignant “Winner Takes It All.” Rebecca Hurd is charming as Sophie and puts her lovely soprano to good use. McKinley Carter and Elizabeth Ledo as Tanya and Rosie, Donna’s old girl group cohorts, are standouts for me. I love seeing fun, sexy musical numbers that aren’t dominated by 22-year-olds. Carter and Ledo are both so funny and totally kill “Does Your Mother Know” and “Take a Chance on Me” respectively.
William Osetek’s direction and Jane Lanier’s choreography are campy, joyful, and don’t take themselves too seriously. Lanier’s dancers are great and keep the energy up throughout.
MAMMA MIA! Is not an “Important” show. It’s probably not going to change your life or fix any of society’s ills. I know all this. But I also know that I continually found myself smiling throughout that production, and that’s not something I often get to do during “Important” plays. A little escapism can be a welcome respite from an unstable world. If you need a break from bad news and bad weather, MAMMA MIA! at Drury Lane fits the bill.
MAMMA MIA! plays through April 14. More info at drurylanetheatre.com.