“Super Trouper.” “Dancing Queen.” “Chiquitita.” “Money, Money, Money.”
You likely have your favorite hits and so do the cast for the upcoming music “Mamma Mia!” by Ghostlight Productions.
For three weekends, the ABBA musical fills Sequim’s sound waves at Sequim High School’s Auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.
“This is really an excuse to have an ABBA concert,” says John Lorentzen, who steps on the stage to act after years leading music. “The audience can take part … and people will be dancing in the aisles.”
Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. July 26-27, Aug. 2-3, 9-10, and 2 p.m. July 27-28, and Aug. 3-4 with tickets available at the door and online at ghostlightproductions.ludus.com.
Fusing popular ABBA songs into the story, “Mamma Mia!” follows Sophie (Danielle Lorentzen) preparing for her wedding to Sky (Noah Long). Sophie desires for her father to walk her down the aisle, but unaware who he might be, she discovers her mom Donna’s diary (Cecie McClelland) and three potential men.
So she secretly invites them leading the men Sam Carmichael (John Lorentzen), Bill Austin (Ron Graham), and Harry Bright (Mark Lorentzen) to arrive before the wedding.
Drama, hilarity and plenty of music ensue.
A concert with depth
Music Director Janessa Fodge said it’s going to be a concert experience but with surprising depth.
“It’s a story you don’t expect to be as heartfelt as it actually is,” she said. “It makes you feel warm and fuzzy. It’s a little ridiculous, but everyone should relate to at least one character at some point.”
As Donna, McClelland takes to the stage after nine years away and the encouragement of her husband and brother.
She said even though her character comes from the Sexual Revolution, she’s embarrassed about her actions and she’s not sure who her daughter’s father could be.
“Some of her anger is hiding her embarrassment, so I’ve been diving deep from that aspect,” McClelland said.
She also finds a new connection through her role as a stage mom to Sophie.
“Even though I have boys in real life and a daughter on stage, I can resonate with my relationship with my own mom,” McClelland said.
McClelland said she remembers her mom playing hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” and her children have picked up on some of the songs too, loving “Mamma Mia!” and “Super Trouper.”
“(The show) is one of those toe tappers that has everything and even though there are some slow songs, it’s even hard for us to do rehearsals without moving,” she said.
Return to stage
Like McClelland, John Lorentzen returns to acting after years away to play Sam Carmichael, one of the potential fathers.
He said they needed the role filled, and his son Mark, the director, cast him.
“I’m a little terrified,” John jokes. “I did a lot of this stuff in college, and I’ve been behind the scenes ever since. Being musical director is a much more comfortable place for me.”
But he’s embraced it all even the unfamiliar like dancing.
John said his favorite tune is “The Winner Takes It All” because “it has that dramatic element that every show needs. It’s kind of like the 11-o-clock show stopping number.”
Jill Camper, an ensemble performer, said “Mamma Mia!” is her favorite show and she just wanted to be a part of it in any capacity.
After helping behind the scenes years before, she takes the stage for the first time with Ghostlight Productions.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and I love the music even more after learning to sing it in the right tempo and key,” she said.
“And there’s nothing like singing live and having human beings singing it with you rather than listening to it on a CD.”
Fodge came in expecting to shadow John Lorentzen but with him taking on a role she was propelled to leading music.
“It’s been a learning curve and everyone has been so patient and super wonderful,” she said.
Early on, she’s found the cast has embraced the music and they’re “doing phenomenally well and every day they blow me away.”
“Mamma Mia!” comprises of a wide-variety of styles, she said, ranging from the slow to the quick to “the weird ‘what the heck is that’ but it all still works.”
Her favorite part is when the full cast comes together.
“When they start to sing, it’s just a block of awesome,” Fodge said. “When you have all 50 people singing together I just get chills.”
For more information on the show, visit http://ghostlight-productions.com/.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.