- Director Daniel Wyman’s talent continues to evolve,
- Choreographer Nylene Hubschman deserves 5 gold stars,
- Musical Director Claudia Simpson-Jones brought ABBA’s songs to life,
- Dawn Emelia as Donna stretched her already amazing gifts,
- Dawn’s daughter Dahlia as Sophie was outstanding,
- Kalen McCrea as Sky surprised with his stage presence,
- The rest of the cast brought synergy making this show work here,
- The Crew deserve accolades with so many details to dovetail!
- Editor’s Note: I am so proud of the Standing Room Only (SRO) Board of Directors in being willing to take on this show. The sell-out crowds attest they made the correct choice. SRO’s production of Mamma Mia! required an attention to detail that Producer Steve Harshfield and Director Daniel Wyman executed with precision. Director Wyman poignantly opened the show with a touching tribute to the recently deceased and noted Yelm community theater director Nancy Tribush Hillman, to whom this show was dedicated with a program inscription.
- The intensity of the volume and depth of ABBA’s songs in this script for the actors to properly convey to the audience would not have worked without the fine Choreography of Nylene Hubschman and Musical Direction of Claudia Simpson-Jones. Along with the sets and intricate responsibilities and duties of the crew, the powerful performances of the cast were even more enhanced.
- To watch Dawn Emelia come from the production or direction side of the house to take a lead role such as this shows the breadth of talent she has. The stage presence in every scene, required costume changes, and different emotional expressions necessary with each part of the story had me mesmerized.
- I was also impressed with the obvious stage-chemistry between Dahlia as Sophie and Kalen McCrea as Sky. To make the script’s love and affection between these two characters work and be believable, that each had to genuinely demonstrate they enjoyed their roles. That showed!
- I always say one can tell the talent of actors when the audience loses their view of the actor they are witnessing and immerses into the characters. Bri Himes as Tanya and Hannah Longshore brilliantly had me and the audience melt into their performances.
- The real surprises of the show for me were the “fathers” – Joel Deerfield as Bill Austin, Patrick Hubschman as Harry Bright, and Ian Montgomery as Sam Carmichael. When they first appeared on-stage, their performances were as required. However, as Sophie begins to learn about her potential “dad,” they each not only rose to each character’s nuances, yet they went way beyond in their sincere and heartfelt portrayals of these oft-conflicted men who just loved the lady of their past and the ladies in their “now.” Montgomery as Sam played the role with more sensitivity than Pierce Brosnan in the movie, which I thought was very appropriate and impressively well-played on this stage.
- Rounding out the show was the Ensemble and other proficient thespians, expertly comprised from a wide range of our community’s talent. I hope we see more of this fine group on SRO stages.
- Dale Sharp’s costume designs reflect his wide capabilities in capturing the essence of the Greek islands setting. The show finale was a spectacular and unexpected surprise where the costume designs got to “knock the socks” off the audience. Very well-done Dale!
- And last, I gave this production a standing ovation in-house, for they deserve all of accolades that come their way. I know that Nancy Tribush Hillman would have been so proud to have this show dedicated in her honor, for Yelm’s Mamma Mia! is truly the epitome of her more than 2 1/2 decades of work here encapsulated in this triumphant achievement. BRAVO!
Bottom line: Now, can we please have this cast and crew reprise their roles and schedule Mamma Mia! Here we Go Again, in 2020. I nominate Claudia Simpson-Jones as Sophie’s grand-mother, played by Cher in the movie? [I already told her in-person she has the ability and the class to pull off this role.] Claudia can handle singing “Fernando!”
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