By Jessica Rizzo
Mamma Mia! James Caldwell High School’s spring musical production is fast approaching! In just a few short weeks, “Mamma Mia!” will be taking over the JCHS stage and will be sure to captivate audiences like never before. “Mamma Mia!” tells the story of Sophie Sheridan, a twenty-year-old girl who lives on the island of Kalokairi in Greece with her single mother, Donna. As Sophie plans her wedding with her fiance, Sky, she secretly invites her three possible fathers (Sam, Bill, and Harry) to the wedding, hoping to discover which is her real dad so he can give her away. Chaos ensues as Donna and her two friends, Tanya and Rosie, engage with the dads who all think they are Sophie’s real father. Featuring the popular songs by ABBA including “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes It All,” and “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia!” is set to open at JCHS on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30, followed by performances on March 22 and 23 at 7:30, and March 24 at 2:00.
The cast of “Mamma Mia!” is currently in the midst of vigorous four hour choreography
and music rehearsals, so I figured now would be the best time to get an inside look at the production. After one rehearsal last week, I sat down for an interview with JCHS senior Kate Glennon, who plays Sophie Sheridan. Glennon is also well-known for her role as Chava last spring in JCHS’ “Fiddler on the Roof” and for her role as Serena in JCHS’s “Legally Blonde The Musical.” We found a quiet place in the back of the CPA where I could ask her a few questions without being interrupted by the choreography rehearsal that was taking place on stage.
I first asked Kate how “Mamma Mia!” compares to JCHS’s previous productions. “‘Mamma Mia!’ is hands down one of the biggest shows JCHS has ever put on,” Kate responded immediately, then continued, “there is a huge set, extravagant dance numbers, and a very large cast.” She gives a lot of credit to her amazing director and choreographer who have instilled much more advanced vocals and dances this year compared to previous years.
I then asked Kate what she thought would surprise people most about this show. I watched her think about her answer for a moment before saying “I think most people will be surprised at the way we all interact with one another.” When I asked her what she meant by this, Kate smiled and said, “We have such a tight-knit cast that the characters’ relationships with one another seem quite natural.” She also added how the cast of teenagers is able to embody the 40-year-old characters flawlessly, which is often difficult to achieve at the high school level.
Before I let Kate get back to her rehearsal, I asked what she found to be the most challenging aspect of playing Sophie. “It is definitely difficult to take the audience through the whirlwind of emotions that Sophie experiences,” Kate responded. Her character is clearly very complex, as Kate explained that Sophie wants to travel the world but also feels obligated to stay on the island to be there for her mom. “I want the audience to feel the sense of longing that Sophie feels as she tries to find her father, and getting those specific emotions across is a real challenge.”
You can see Kate as Sophie in her final JCHS performance on March 21.