If the woes of the world have you frowning, Pima Community College’s Theatre Arts production of Mamma Mia! at the West Campus will have you smiling in no time. As with their past musicals, the mostly-young cast brings contagious joy radiating from the stage. And there’s even a live orchestra in the pit! The Broadway hit uses songs by Abba, maybe not your favorite group. Not mine, for sure. But that doesn’t matter. It works.
As with most musicals, the plot line is thin, something to hang song and dance on. Donna (Thea Lancaster) runs an inn on a Mediterranean island. In 1979, when sex, drugs and rock’n’roll were in fashion, she had flings with three visitors. Now it’s 20 years later and her fatherless daughter Sophie (Olivia Gainey) is getting married to Sky (Eduardo Rodriguez). Sophie finds Mom’s old diary and sees that one of the three men is probably her father, so she sends them wedding invitations.
The guys (Evan Taylor, Andrew Miller and Rafael Aćuna) arrive ready to claim parentage, and the complications ensue. Along the way Donna, with two old friends (Shann Oliver and Gianbari Deebom), resurrects their Supreme-style stage act. More than two dozen songs and some amazing choreography – boys wearing swim flippers dancing – move the show rapidly and joyfully along.
Todd Poelstra’s direction never wavers, and all in the cast performed as a team; ten months of rehearsal pays off. The rest of the cast include: Lexi Baker and Lydia Zadareky as Sophie’s friends, Jeff Stanton as a barman, and water sportsman Alden Lester, with a lively ensemble of Brittney Baker, Veronica Conran, Adrian Hinojos, Tyler Mire, Madison Peden, Timi Post, Madeline Rosales, Brandon Saxon, Mary Tran, and Etienne Wegryzniak.
PCC’s Theatre Arts Program continues to offer a low-cost alternative to high-priced commercial productions which, in the opinion of this reviewer, who has attended theatres in many places over many years, are as good – and maybe better – than those dollar-driven extravaganzas. Reserved seat tickets for Mamma Mia! are $24 and $21, $18 for seniors. There are two performances left in the two-week run: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Online at www.pima.edu/cfa, or at the Box Office (Tuesday-Friday, noon to 5); 520-206-6986.