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Dancing queens high step into Denver in Mamma Mia

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Mamma Mia!

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For 15 years, audiences have gone wild over Mamma Mia! just as they did January 28 when it opened at The Buell Theatre in Denver for a short six-day run.

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Fun, funny and far-fetched, this the cross-generational love story woven around the songs of Abba, the Swedish pop sensation of the 70s, electrifies the stage and turns the theatre into a dancing disco party.

More than 54 million people around the globe have experienced it.

For the record, Mamma Mia! has nothing to do with Italy. The play takes place on a Greek island; the title comes from an Italian expression that can be loosely translated as "OMG" as one hits her forehead with her palm. Such was the case when single mom, Donna (Georgia Kate Haege), finds herself face-to-face with her long-lost ex-lovers, she bursts into Abba’s song: Mamma Mia, here I go again. My my, how can I resist you?

This is how the entire show evolves. Author Catherine Johnson wrote the improbable plot to piece together 22 of Abba’s most famous singles. It’s usually the other way around—the lyricist writes music to illustrate the story.

In Mamma Mia!, it works, most of the time. It works especially well when Donna’s friend Rosie literally throws herself at one of her exes, the rugged adventure writer Bill in a hilarious rendition of “Take a Chance on Me.”

The story goes like this: On the eve of her wedding, spirited 20-year-old Sophie (Chelsea Williams) greets three guests she secretly invited to the island, men whose names she got from her mother’s diary who could possibly be her father from Donna's liaisons 21 years prior. She desperately wants her father to walk her down the aisle, but which one is he? Donna, the feisty proprietor of an inn, also welcomes her lifelong best pals from her old band Donna and the Dynamos—hefty, no-frills Rosie (Carly Sakolove) and wealthy, three-times wed Tanya (Gabrielle Mirabella). Imagine her surprise when the “dads” (Michael Colavolpe, Mark A. Harmon and Don Winsor) show up.

What follows is delightful chaos, embellished by Abba hits like “Dancing Queen,” “I Have a Dream,” “Honey, Honey,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Chiquitita,” and more.

Don’t even think of putting on your coat after the bows. There’s more to come!

Other cast members are: Chris Stevens, Antoinette Comer, Kyle Dupree, Emily Price, and Colorado native P. Tucker Worley as Pepper.

Director is Phyllida LLoyd; choreography by Anthony Van Laast, production design by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material and arrangements by Martin Koch.

Mamma Mia! plays at The Buell Theatre through Feb. 8, 2014

For tickets, visit www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.

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