Troubadours Present “Mamma Mia!”

Orthwein Theatre was rocking for the Troubadours production of Mamma Mia! last week. The dedicated cast and crew offered four rousing performances that entertained and delighted audiences. “They found the joy in the show much more than I expected,” said Carolyn Hood, Upper School Performing Arts Director and director of the show, “and that affected the audience.”

The music and lyrics of Mamma Mia! are by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, two of the founding members of the 1970s pop group ABBA, with some songs by Stig Anderson. The story follows Donna and her daughter, Sophie, as they prepare for 20-year-old Sophie’s wedding. There’s a catch: unbeknownst to Donna, Sophie has invited three men to the wedding, all of whom were intimate with Donna 21 years ago, and one of whom is Sophie’s father. Hilarity ensues as everyone tries to discern if Sam, Harry, or Bill is the father. In the end, old loves are reunited and young loves call off a wedding in favor of exploring the world.

Jaida Smith ’24 played an exuberant Sophie, mirrored by the outstanding vocals of Kate Slone ’23 as Donna. They were both supported by their girlfriends Aly (Sophia Huddleston ’25), Lisa (Natalie Benoist ’25), saucy Tanya (Zoe Clark ’22), and hilarious Rosie (Keller Goldstein ’23).

Goldstein said, “I thought this show was one of our best. We are all so proud of the show we produced and it was great to see all of our hard work pay off. My favorite scene was Take A Chance On Me. Getting to play Rosie was so much fun and the audience loved the song. Lucas was great to work with and it was so much fun making the song ours. Ms. Hood pushed both Lucas and me very far and I can honestly say it all paid off when the audience came up to us after the show to tell us how much they loved it! I knew almost everyone in Mamma Mia!, but I grew so close to people I never thought I would. I can say with confidence that this cast was one big friend group and not seeing them every day is going to be weird. They inspired me and brought out the best in me.”

The groom, Sky, played by Harrison Brown ’22, enjoyed some hijinks with his friends Pepper (Peter Grace ’23) and Eddie (Derin Whitaker ’24) and support from the company, which included an incredible kick-line with diving fins.

Sam (Jackson Chou ’23), Harry (Anik Jukanti ’25), and Bill (Lucas Allgeyer ’25) provided a wonderful combination of poignant moments and merriment.

Eliza Dorf ’23 served as the production’s stage manager, running things behind the scenes so the productions went off without a hitch. She said, “​​This was only my second time being a stage manager, and it was my first time doing a musical, so I was pretty nervous at first. I’m very thankful to have been a part of this production, and I have especially enjoyed seeing the progression from auditions to the final show. My favorite scene/song from the show has to be Take A Chance On Me. Luke and Keller did an amazing job with this scene, and with each show it got better and better. This show had a larger tech crew, and I enjoyed working with all of them. I’m super thankful for the props crew for keeping everything running smoothly backstage. Overall, being a part of Mamma Mia! was a great experience and I hope I get to work on musicals with Ms. Hood in the future.”

Jukanti reflected on his experience with Mamma Mia!, the second play he’s been in. “Doing these plays was an experience that positively affected me. I think that this will be one of the best memories of my life, the cast is fun, the costumes are amazing, and the set is just phenomenal.” His favorite scene was Harry and Donna singing Our Last Summer during Act 2. “The scene shows how strong their relationship is although they broke up and haven’t seen each other for years,” he said. “This scene shows them reminiscing about the summer they met and their emotions tell a lot.” He, too, found friendships on and behind the stage. “The entire cast is super friendly so it was easy to connect with everyone. Being with the cast was more than a group of friends but a family. Seniors like Harrison Brown ’22, Zoe Clark ’22, June Brown ’22, and Lexie Reeb ’22 will be greatly missed,” he said.

Hood was thrilled with the way the cast and crew gelled, especially since they trended younger. “For such a young cast—three-quarters of whom were ninth- and 10th-graders—I saw a tremendous professionalism,” she said. Clearly, MICDS is poised for more brilliant productions with all this young talent on and behind the stage!

Mamma Mia! provided great music and comic relief in a difficult world, a dichotomy reinforced by the concession fundraising for Ukraine during intermission. Showgoers chose dollar cookies and treats and handed over $20 or more, saying, “Keep the change.” Hood reports her theater students baked, bought, and supplied treats to sell at intermission, and that their efforts raised $4,595 over the four performances, all of which will go toward providing medical and personal items in Ukraine. “Sometimes you feel helpless,” she said. “Bake sales can seem silly in the midst of atrocities, but you do what you can do, and sometimes it really makes a difference.”

The audiences at all four productions were engaged and appreciative, from singing along to the final songs (with help from the lyrics projected onto the set!) to robust applause.

The cast also included Penny Chen ’23 as Memory Donna and Aria Coff ’32 as Memory Sophie, plus Max Thomas ’25 as the priest. The choreography was by Summer Beasley, Middle and Lower School PE Teacher. Lighting was designed by Raina Compton ’23. Katie Kopff was the Musical Director, and costumes were by Kim Truka.

The Company

  • Nina Bhayani ’25
  • Penny Chen ’23
  • Caroline Danforth ’25
  • Alyssa Harris ’25
  • Haya Hussain ’24
  • Samantha Sullivan ’25
  • Greysen Brown ’24
  • Cora Bryan ’24
  • Charlie Fischer ’25
  • Abby Gray ’24
  • Grant LaMartina ’25
  • Grant Nicholson ’24
  • Rachel Phillips ’24
  • Virgina Portell ’24
  • Grace Rollo ’24
  • Chloe Davis ’24
  • Dani Dessau ’23
  • Alice Ma ’23
  • Ali Oak ’23
  • Livi Thomas ’23
  • June Brown ’22
  • Lexie Reeb ’22

Pit Singers

  • Nicole Dai ’23
  • Phoebe Burgis ’23
  • Ryan Jan ’25

Light Board Operator

A.J. Turnell ’23

Sound Board Operator

Ash Aranha ’23

Follow Spot Operators

  • Abby Derdeyn ’25
  • Sahar Bhutto ’24

Prop Crew

  • Isabel Link ’23
  • Nithya Reddy ’23

Costume Crew

  • Ella Brauer ’24
  • Bridget Clennan ’24

Set/Paint Crew

  • Raina Compton ’23
  • A.J. Turnell ’23
  • Ash Aranha ’23
  • Nathaniel Lieser ’24
  • Greysen Brown ’24
  • Ana Estes ’24
  • Tanay Goel ’24
  • Penny Chen ’23
  • Sahar Bhutto ’24
  • Abby Derdeyn ’25
  • Bridgett Wang ’24
  • Livi Thomas ’23
  • Jada Greer ’24
  • Nithya Reddy ’23
  • Isabel Link ’23
  • Azael Mayer ’24
  • Alice Ma ’23

Congratulations to this outstanding cast and crew for a wonderful production of Mamma Mia! Bravo! Brava!