Review “Mamma Mia”: Abba Dance Party
For Littlestar Association with Universal presents
In conjunction with the Broadway in Chicago series
At Rosemont Theatre (5400 North River Road, Rosemont)
And some songs with Stig Anderson
Book by Catherine Johnson
Musical Supervisor, additional material and arrangements by Martin Koch
Choreography by Anthony Van Laast
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Thru January 24th
Mamma Mia! Here I go again. My, my how can I resist you? Judy Craymer, Richard East and Bjorn Ulvaeus for Littlestar Association with Universal present Mamma Mia! in conjunction with the Broadway in Chicago series. The Abba infused musical comedy, Mamma Mia! is playing for a limited engagement at the Rosemont Theatre (5400 North River Road, Rosemont). Sophie is about to marry Sky. She wants her father to give her away. The problem is she doesn’t know who he is. To find out, Sophie invites three potential candidates from her mother’s past to her wedding. Her baffled mother works through the surprise arrivals with her former band sidekicks. Chiquitta, you and I know how the heartaches come and they go. Set on a Greek Island, Mamma Mia! is a light and breezy musical where relationship drama is actualized with familiar pop songs.
Former band sidekicks, Rachel Tyler (Tanya) and Kittra Wynn Coomer (Rosie) are a perfect comedy duo. Playing off each other’s vocal and physical strengths, I believe their chemistry is the best part of the show! I do, I do, I do, I do! Independently, they also have standout numbers. Tyler has a “cougar dance off” with Adam Michael Kaokept (Pepper). Although both competitors are well-matched , Kaokept displays some exceptionally spry movements. Winner Takes It All. Whether donning, not one but, two shiny metallic monstrosities or hitting on Bill (Martin Kildare) in Take A Chance on Me, Coomer oozes hilarious levels of moxie! Unfortunately, two of the primary leads have been miscast Michelle Dawson (Donna) and John Hemphill (Sam). Both have wonderful singing voices but they aren’t right for abba-izing. Dawson sings with a dramatic cadence more be fitting drama then comedy. Hemphill appears like a stiff accountant type than a dashing romantic lead. Their moments on stage together are “first date awkward” not “twenty years of smoldering passion”. So when you’re near me, darling can’t you hear me? S. O. S.
Liana Hunt (Sophie) leads the youthful chorus with enthusiastic energy. Dancing Queen…Young and sweet only seventeen. Anthony Van Laast has masterfully developed a new generation’s dance movements to the popular songs by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus made famous by Abba. Thank you for the Music. Add in the vibrant costumes that mix 1970’s color with a hip twist, Mamma Mia is for all ages humming in your head, swaying in your seat, fun loving musical. And isn’t that the Name of the Game?
The Super Trouper, who drove, Maureen describes the show as energetic with great choreography.
WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Deciding to pace our commute to avoid the rush hour, we dine at Chief O’Neill’s at 3471 N. Elston. I sip on a nice Navarro Malbec and Maureen enjoys a Lemon Drop Martini. We each decide to order from the Emerald Isle Favorites’ list: the original fish and chips and the chicken and mushroom pot pie. Both hearty portions, there is enough to share and we still take home lunch for the next day. Our friendly server Andy offers to bring over house Irish soda bread. There are many varieties of soda bread in the world. This one is slightly sweet with caraway seeds… delicious. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
Following dinner, we easily access the Kennedy and keep the road trip under thirty minutes. Rosemont Theatre is a bit of a hike for city folk. Unfortunately, the $20 parking fee will cure any homesickness. Money, money, money… it’s a rich man’s world.
Photographs by Carol Rosegg.