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‘Mamma Mia’ will get Valley premiere at Playhouse

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

The Youngstown Playhouse has obtained the rights to perform “Mamma Mia” – becoming the first theater in the area to do so – and will insert the musical into its 2018-19 season.

The musical with a score made up entirely of hit songs by ABBA will be performed two weekends, Nov. 30-Dec.2 and Dec. 6-9, on the main stage. It will take over the holiday-season slot formerly held by “9 to 5: The Musical,” which is being dropped for this season but is under consideration for the future.

An initial attempt to include “Mamma Mia” in the upcoming season fell through due to licensing restrictions, said James McClellan, operations manager of the Playhouse.

But when the title suddenly became available again in recent weeks, the Playhouse was able to secure the performance rights, bringing this immensely popular show to the area 17 years after its Broadway opening.

For “Mamma Mia,” the theater will augment its usual six-performance musical run with an additional Thursday evening performance Dec. 6. Show times are at 7:30 p.m., except for 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees on Dec. 2 and 9.

Call 330-788-8739 for ticket information.

The production will be directed by Donna Smith Downie, with Matthew White serving as musical director and Lori George choreographing the musical numbers.

Auditions will take place on Sept. 16 and 17 at 6 p.m. at the Playhouse, and all roles are open. Details will be released in the near future.

“Mamma Mia!” made its debut in London in 1999, where it is still running.

A Broadway production opened two years later, and ran for 14 years, making it one of the 10 longest-running shows in Broadway history.

A film version, released in 2008 and starring Meryl Streep, became one of the highest-grossing films of its year, and its cinematic sequel is currently playing in theaters.

The lighthearted musical is set on a picturesque Greek island, and tells the story a young woman’s search for her birth father.

On the eve of her wedding, she summons three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

The show features a large cast and dynamic dance numbers, set to infectious pop tunes by ABBA, the 1970s supergroup. The songs include “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “Waterloo” and the title song.