Students of Basalt High School, Basalt Middle School (BMS), Roaring Fork High School and Carbondale Middle School will perform the hit musical “Mamma Mia!” on April 13-15 at 7pm and April 16 at 2pm. With over 27 actors and various backstage crew bringing the show to life, those involved are excited to tell the timeless story of love, dreams and family.
“Mamma Mia! The Musical” opened on Oct. 18, 2001, at the Winter Garden Theatre, and the soundtrack is all music by the Swedish supergroup Abba. The story tells of a young bride-to-be, Sophie, and her mother, Donna, and the high jinks that ensue after Sophie invites her mother’s past lovers, Bill, Harry and Sam, to their home in Greece to discover who of the three is her father.
It was the ninth longest-running modern musical and the longest-running “jukebox musical” in Broadway history. The show typically runs for two and a half hours with an intermission. A movie adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried hit theaters in 2008 and was followed by a sequel 10 years later, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”
One major in this local production is that Sophie’s love interest, Sky, will be portrayed by a young woman. Canonically and traditionally played by a man, this change makes Sophie and Sky a gay couple.
“It’s unconventional, but we haven’t changed the script,” said director Sonya Meyer. “Sky is just a girl, and the love is still the same. I think it’s really special to see.”
Meyer and stars Evie Becker, in the role of Donna, Ella Gutierrez, Sophie, and Jenna Powersmith, Sky, all sat down with The Sopris Sun to discuss the production.
Meyer has an extensive background in theater and is well known for her performances in the Roaring Fork Valley. She is excited to be directing her fourth show at BMS, and seeing the students she had as a freshman taking to the stage in their senior year. Gutierrez and Powersmith worked behind the scenes throughout high school as stage managers.
“They’ve just been such amazing students to work with,” said Meyer. “It’s special to see them on stage this year. It’s pretty wild to have this kind of Valley-wide production with so many students. This has become such a family and a community, and that is one of the things that makes theater so special.”
Becker voiced her excitement, too. “I have liked ‘Mamma Mia!’ since I was a kid. So being a part of a show in my senior year that I get to be so involved in and spend a lot of time with and that I’ve been so in love with since I was so young is super exciting,” she said.
Becker explained that playing a character who is “so realistic with their flaws and complexities” is something that she is particularly excited for after playing Maria in last year’s production of “The Sound of Music.”
“It’s a fun challenge to be someone who you have to try and get in the head of and understand all the motivations behind. ‘Why is she saying this right now?’ ‘What is she feeling?’ I’ve never had to do that before, and it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Piggybacking off the sentiment of nostalgia, Gutierrez said that playing the role of the ‘romantic’ Sophie with her childhood friend, Becker, has been fun.
“It’s so fun playing this 20-year-old who’s in love and romanticizes the world so heavily. I love seeing how she learns from her mistakes just in the show and how that will go with her in the future. I love her relationship with Donna, it’s such a beautiful mother-and-daughter relationship,” she said.
Although the show is upbeat, Powersmith told The Sopris Sun that, as a senior in the show, there is a bittersweetness ahead of graduation.
“‘Slipping Through My Fingers’ is an almost relatable song,” she said. “The music is just so upbeat and fun, it just gives a good vibe throughout, and everyone is going to know the songs.”
Tickets for Mamma Mia! are available at www.bit.ly/MammaMiaBMS