As soon as Carolyn Greer, Owensboro High School’s theatre director, saw that the rights to the musical “Mamma Mia” were available, she called Emily Malone, Director of Encore Musicals.
“She had said that if it ever became available, she wanted to direct it,” Malone said. “You just hope you get the rights because everyone likes it.”
Receiving the green light, Malone and Greer have teamed up for this summer’s Encore Musicals presentation of the smash hit, “Mamma Mia” with Greer directing and Malone as the musical director.
The hit by ABBA tells the story of a young woman’s search for her birth father because she wants him to give her away for her wedding. Set in a Greek island paradise, in a 24-hour period, the cast of over 50 sing and dance their way into discovering which of three possible men that Sophie, the daughter, invited to the island wedding could be her father without telling her mother, Donna.
“It is escapism,” Malone said. “It’s not really emotional or really serious, but really just moving, just fun.”
Returning to the musical theatre stage after a couple of years off, Misty Miller and Tara Estes knew this was the musical to return to. They play Donna’s best friends and former bandmates in Donna and the Dynamos.
“As soon as I saw it was ‘Mamma Mia,’ I knew I wanted to do it. This might be my last show, so I needed to take advantage of it,” Miller said, laughing about now auditioning for middle-aged roles and performing as Rosie.
Estes, who plays Tanya, echoed those sentiments saying that the younger cast members “take care” of her on remembering the choreography.
Don’t be fooled by either actresses comments; they are veterans of the musical theatre stage and perform as well as the talented “younger” ensemble.
“This cast of kids is so talented,” Miller said of the larger-than-normal cast of teens and college-aged students who are home for the summer. “It’s crazy, like ‘where did they come from?’”
Estes said that many of the people in the musical are new to her, but several she performed with at Back Alley Musicals are returning for this show.
One of those, Encore Musicals board member David Roberson is playing Harry, one of the young girl’s possible fathers.
“I’ve been in shows for years and years, and some [people], this is the only place I see them,” Roberson said. “A lot [of this cast] is younger, but it is all about the people and enjoying the process.”
Malone said that the cast is larger than usual for summer musicals because of the talent.
“It was difficult to figure out [who to cut and who to keep],” Malone said of the talent the cast brought.
For nine weeks prior to opening night, the cast has rehearsed the songs and difficult dance numbers.
“There is so much more choreography and ensemble singing,” Malone said of the cast who is singing in 23 of the 24 numbers.
“Mamma Mia” will be at the RiverPark Center July 20 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and July 21 and 28 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available by calling the RiverPark box office at 270-687-2770 or on their webpage.