“Mamma Mia” opened Tuesday night to a packed house at Heinz Hall filled with laughter, some “dated” clothing and a happy audience.
“Mamma Mia” follows Sophie (Chelsea Williams) who desperately wants the father she’s never known to walk her down the aisle. The daughter of Donna (Kate Haege), a former celebrity turned independent single mother/hotel owner, Sophie found her mothers journal and invites the three potential fathers to her wedding unbeknowst to her mother – and let the comedy magic begin.
Pittsburghers of all ages were singing along, tapping toes and swaying in their seats as the songs of ABBA filled the room with classics like “Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” The show features an incredible cast of characters led by a powerful trio of Donna (Haege), Tanya (Gabrielle Mirabella) and Rosie (Carly Sakolove). As the former “Donna and the Dynamos” singers – Haege, Mirabella and Sakolove take you back to that point in your life where you’d sing “Dancing Queen” into a hairdryer (or in some cases … snorkeling gear) and dress up like you did “way back when.”
Featuring a simplistic set which rotated throughout the night for inside and outside of the hotel, “Mamma Mia” wasn’t about flashy costumes, dramatic special effects or even over the top performances – it gave the audience exactly what they wanted – pure fun. It was like watching your yesteryears play out right before your eyes. Whether you donned the feather boa, were the class clown or had a few too many boyfriends – “Mamma Mia” is the story of those special moments in your life you’ll never forget.
Of course, the show will give you a few lasting moments you may never forget (and some of the cast may never live down). A grand round of applause must go to the majority of the male cast for dancing around in scuba gear – complete with flippers and no one fell! Additionally, major kudos to the three leading men of the show – Michael Calovolpe (Bill Austin), Mark A. Harmon (Harry Bright) and Don Winsor (Sam Carmichael) for giving the audience a real surprise during the finale.
Speaking of the finale, if you’re that person that runs to the exit as soon as the curtain calls start – DON’T! Leaving early will result in you missing one of the best finales in stage performances! There wasn’t a single person left in the seats by the end – and rightfully so. I won’t give it away, but you will most certainly want to wait.
The 2014 production of “Mamma Mia” marks the sixth visit of the show to the city and it always delivers. If you haven’t bought tickets yet – don’t delay because the show is only here until Sunday, February 16. Great seats are still available with tickets starting at just $23. Visit www.trustarts.org for more details.