Mamma Mia! makes its way onto the AU stage


Bella Pacinelli

AU gets ready to add Mamma Mia! to record of shows.

Bella Pacinelli, FEATURES EDITOR

The musical that brings ABBA to life is coming to Ashland University. Mamma Mia! opens Valentine’s Day at 7:30 p.m. with other showings on Feb. 15, 21, 22 and a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Feb. 16 in the Hugo Young Theatre.

With 45 AU students as part of the cast, crew and band, this play is expected to bring in large crowds, associate professor of theatre and director of Mamma Mia!, Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames, said.

“When you have a big cast you have friends and family coming to see it,” she said. “It would be an awesome thing to have a full audience to perform for each night.”

Auditions for the play were held at the end of October and rehearsals began shortly after.

“We got everyone together to read through the script and do some music rehearsals just so everyone knew what parts they would be singing,” Durbin-Ames said.

In an effort to make up for lost time during winter break, the cast arrived on campus a week before classes for two-a-day rehearsals.

Bella Pacinelli
A member of the crew for Mamma Mia! painting a set piece.

“In those five days we basically got two weeks of rehearsals in,” she said. “We did music in the afternoon and choreography in the evening.”

Mamma Mia! was chosen in part to bring life to AU during the February season.

“We are going to light up that stage, we are in Greece, just imagine the sunshine and the beautiful blue water and white sand, this is just the world we want to create,” she said.

Durbin-Ames also admires the positive energy and powerful female characters that are present in this musical.

“Sophie wants to find her dad and takes action to do that but then you’ve got her mom Donna who back in the 70s with her Dynamos, they were these independent women and Donna’s maintained that independence,” she said. “You’ve got great roles for women in that way.”

Junior musical theatre major and Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia!, Macy Campbell, has been preparing to play this role since she was a child.

“I have seen this movie and I have known it since I was a kid so I was ready to go,” she said. “I was like whatever happens, I’m ready to learn all the songs and I’m ready to be in it.”

Campbell relates to her character as they are both 20-year-old women.

“I think she’s really fun and it’s cool to watch her grow from being kind of childish at the beginning to maturing at the end of the show,” she said.

With 28 songs in the entire musical it seems it could become tedious, but not for Campbell.

“The songs are my favorite part,” she said. “Everyone’s going to have so much fun watching and I’m having so much fun singing and being in it.”

Mamma Mia! has reminded Campbell how much she loves theatre and why she has chosen it as a career path.

“It’s all about having fun and experiencing new things with new people,” she said.

Durbin-Ames recognizes that putting on a musical asks a lot from the performers.

“The biggest challenge for everyone in the show is getting the dances and song lyrics down,” she said. “Your brain is trying to get the dance steps but you also have to remember that there are words to the song and you’re supposed to be singing particular notes.”

Despite this challenge, Durbin-Ames is rewarded when everyone is in sync and having a good time.

“It’s gonna be a fun evening, you’re gonna be tapping your toes and smiling and hopefully on your feet by the end of the show,” she said.

Campbell is nervous for the upcoming show but excited to perform for everyone.

“I hope the audience has fun because it’s really a feel-good musical,” she said. “Come see the show it’s going to be amazing.”

Tickets can be purchased online, in the box office or at the door. They are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, AU faculty, staff and alumni, $8 for groups of 10 or more, $5 for non-AU students and $2 with an AU ID.