Encore Michigan

‘Mama Mia,’ that’s a funny show at Wayne State

Review April 06, 2019 David Kiley

DETROIT, Mich.–Jukebox musicals are pretty much money in the bank. No show has proven that quite like Mama Mia, the show based on the music of Abba. Judging from the applause and laughter at The Bonstelle Theater where The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Watne State University is performing the show, ticket sales won’t be a problem.

The joint was packed on a beautiful day despite a Tiger game going on right down the street.

The musical is about a wedding weekend on a Greek Island, though it is really about giving cast members the chance to sing Abba tunes.

Donna (Rashna Sarwar), a single mother and former disco-group front-woman owns a “Taverna” on a Greek island. Her daughter Sophie (Lexie Farrer) is getting married to a man named Sky (Tim Heimstra) and wants to know who her father is. According to Donna’s old diary, it could be any of three men she spent passionate nights with the summer that Sophie was conceived. The three possibles, all of whom have been invited by Sophie: Sam Carmichael (Luke Hodgson); Bill Austin (Josue Camarena); Harry Bright (Jack Cowper).

Donna has invited her former band mates to help her get through the weekend–Rosie (Stephanie Bedore) and Tanya (Laura Moore).

The story rolls out that none of three men escort Sophie down the aisle, and Sky comes to think that Sophie has arranged the wedding just to get three former lovers of her Mother in one place to sort out her paternity.

But like I said, this show is more or less an excuse to get the Abba tunes in. And we get em: “Dancing Queen,” “Money, money money,” “Mamma Mia,” Super Trouper,” “SOS,” “Does Your Mother Know.”

There is a lot of promising talent on the stage, and the young actors have a ball with the show despite the pop music pre-dating them by many years.

Mama Mia could just as well be called “Fun Day.”  Since its West End debut in 1999, more than 60 million people have seen it worldwide, not to mention the millions more who saw the film adaption that hit movie theaters in 2008, followed by the sequel film.

Clearly, there’s something about this show that strikes at our fun cortex. Check out why at The Bonstelle now through April 14.

Click here for show info

Week of 6/17/2019

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