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Mamma Mia! shines at the Kravis Center

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Joy and Heartbreak Intertwine in Mamma Mia! at the Kravis Center: A Captivating Tale of Identity, Love and Unbreakable Bonds.

June 25th, 2024

On Tuesday evening, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach became a sanctuary for Mamma Mia! devotees. As the lights dimmed and the curtain rose, the audience, a delightful mix of young enthusiasts and nostalgic long-timers, found themselves transported to a sun-drenched Greek island, created by a minimalist yet evocative set. Against the backdrop of iconic white-washed buildings, we meet 20-year-old Sophie Sheridan, portrayed by the captivating Alisa Melendez. Sitting on the steps of her mother’s boutique hotel, Sophie clutches her mother’s diary and three invitations addressed to the potential fathers she’s only recently discovered.

In this serene moment, Sophie dreams of the perfect wedding where her father will give her away. As she sings “I Have a Dream,” her voice tender and hopeful, she mails the invitations, setting her quest for identity and belonging into motion. The audience is swept away by her sincerity and the promise of the adventure to come.

The anticipation builds as Sophie’s wedding day draws near. Her best friends, Ali and Lisa, burst onto the scene with infectious energy. Haley Wright and L’Oreal Roache bring these characters to life with boundless enthusiasm. The trio’s rendition of “Honey, Honey” is a playful exploration of the past, filled with giggles and secrets, as Sophie reads her mother’s romantic escapades from the diary.

Transitioning seamlessly from the youthful exuberance of Sophie’s friends, we are introduced to her mother, Donna, played with astounding depth and power by Christine Sherrill. Sherrill’s performance is a tour de force; she embodies Donna’s strength and vulnerability with a voice that reverberates through the theater. As Donna reunites with her old friends and bandmates, Rosie and Tanya, the stage comes alive with their undeniable chemistry. Rosie, played by Carly Sakolove, and Tanya, portrayed by Jalynn Steele, bring distinct personalities that add a delightful contrast—Rosie with her boisterous humor and Tanya with her glamorous charm.

(L to R) Jalynn Steele (Tanya), Christine Sherrill (Donna Sheridan), and Carly Sakolove (Rosie). Photo by Joan Marcus

Their camaraderie shines as they launch into “Money, Money, Money,” a spirited anthem of friendship and shared dreams. The audience can almost feel the weight of their shared history and the lightness of their enduring bond. This trio is a testament to the power of long-lasting friendships, their voices intertwining with a joyous harmony that sweeps the audience into their world.

As the story unfolds, the arrival of the three potential fathers injects a new dynamic into the narrative. Victor Wallace, Jim Newman, and Rob Marnell step into their roles as Sam, Bill, and Harry with a blend of curiosity and bewilderment. Each actor brings a unique flavor to his character, enriching the overall theme of the storyline. The audience is treated to a poignant moment as Sophie, full of hope and determination, sings “Thank You for the Music,” pleading for their discretion.

(L to R) Jim Newman (Bill Austin), Victor Wallace (Sam Carmichael), and Rob Marnell (Harry Bright). Photo by Joan Marcus

Donna’s reunion with her past lovers is a scene charged with emotion and history. The performance of “Mamma Mia!” captures the confusion and nostalgia of revisiting old flames. Sherrill’s portrayal of Donna’s inner turmoil is palpable, leaving the audience breathless as she navigates through a sea of memories and unresolved feelings.

Retreating to her room, Donna is comforted by Rosie and Tanya in a heartwarming scene that balances humor and tenderness. “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen” transform into an exuberant celebration of friendship and resilience. The trio’s vibrant performance is both a nod to their past and a testament to their enduring spirit, filling the theater with infectious joy.

As Sophie’s dilemma deepens, she turns to Sky, her fiancé, only to find him swept away by his friends in a comical bachelor party spectacle. The synchronized antics of the scuba divers during “Lay All Your Love on Me” are a whimsical interlude, blending humor and choreography in a memorable display.

The night’s crescendo is Sophie’s bachelorette party, where the stage is bathed in glitter and neon as Donna, Tanya, and Rosie make a triumphant return, dazzling the crowd with “Super Trouper.” The infectious energy spills over as the dads join the fray, leading to a playful, high-spirited rendition of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” The women’s pursuit of the men is a lively dance of curiosity and intrigue, setting the stage for Sophie’s heartfelt solo, “The Name of the Game,” where she seeks answers from Bill.

As the evening progresses, the suspense intensifies. Each of the potential fathers begins to suspect they have been invited because they might be Sophie’s father. The climax of “Voulez-Vous” is a whirlwind of confusion and excitement, with the entire cast caught up in the throes of anticipation. The song builds to a fever pitch, capturing the tumultuous emotions swirling around Sophie as she grapples with the secret she’s been keeping.

The curtain falls, leaving the audience eager for what lies ahead in Act 2, their hearts racing from the exhilarating blend of music, dance, and storytelling.

Act 2 of Mamma Mia! kicks off with a vivid nightmare in Sophie’s room, where haunting chants of “Under Attack” create an intense atmosphere, perfectly capturing her anxiety about the impending wedding. As the dream fades, we shift to another part of the island where Sam confronts Donna.

Their chemistry reignites as they reminisce about simpler times, leading to a heartfelt duet of “S.O.S.” The nostalgia is palpable, setting the stage for an emotional journey. Meanwhile, in a lighter moment, the vivacious Tanya fends off the flirtatious advances of a young employee with playful sass, belting out “Does Your Mother Know?” Her performance is both comedic and empowering, keeping the audience thoroughly entertained.

As the story unfolds, Sam finds Sophie, revealing his past failures in love. His poignant rendition of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” adds depth to his character, offering a touching moment of reflection that resonates with Sophie. This scene transitions seamlessly into a tender reunion between Harry and Donna.

Strolling down memory lane, their duet of “Our Last Summer” beautifully captures the bittersweet nature of past love, radiating warmth and nostalgia. This tender moment is soon followed by another emotional highlight when Sophie seeks out Donna for help with her wedding preparations.

During this intimate scene, Donna sings “Slipping Through My Fingers” while helping Sophie dress, and the bond between them is palpable, touching the hearts of the audience. Just as emotions reach a peak, Sam returns, stirring a whirlwind of feelings in Donna, culminating in her powerful solo, “The Winner Takes It All.” Christine Sherrill’s performance here is nothing short of show-stopping, leaving the audience in awe.

In the midst of all this, sparks fly between Rosie and Bill in the church. Rosie, taking matters into her own hands, sings “Take a Chance on Me” in an endearing attempt to win him over. Their playful interaction is a delightful contrast, adding a touch of humor and romance.

As the wedding ceremony begins, tension builds, and Donna proudly walks Sophie down the aisle to Sky, portrayed with palpable chemistry by Grant Reynolds. However, the surprise comes when Sophie suggests postponing the wedding to travel the world together, reflecting a mature understanding of love and adventure.

(L to R) Grant Reynolds (Sky), and Alisa Melendez (Sophie Sheridan). Photo by Joan Marcus

This leads to a touching moment where Donna bravely reveals her uncertainty about Sophie’s father, strengthening their mother-daughter bond. As emotions settle, not wanting the day to end without a celebration, Sam passionately proposes to Donna.

Amid cheers and the joyous chorus of “I Do, I Do, I Do,” she leaps into his arms, sealing their love with a kiss. This jubilant moment is a perfect celebration of second chances, followed by Sophie and Sky embarking on their journey, serenaded by the tender notes of “I Have a Dream.” Their departure is a fitting conclusion, brimming with hope and new beginnings.

As the cast returns for their curtain call, the audience erupts into a standing ovation, delighted by an encore of “Mamma Mia” and a glittering performance of “Dancing Queen” by Donna and the Dynamos. The infectious energy leaves the audience buzzing, a testament to the show’s captivating charm and the enthusiasm of its die-hard fans!

The Company of MAMMA MIA! 25th Anniversary Tour. 

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