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Mama Mia! is Delightfully Fun at the Fabulous Fox

Christine Sherrill (Donna Sheridan), and the Company of MAMMA MIA! 25th Anniversary Tour
Photo by Joan Marcus

 

–by Ashley Cox

 

Mama Mia
February 13th
The Fabulous Fox Theater
Midtown, St. Louis.

The 25th anniversary tour of the smash hit turned movie “Mama Mia” opened with a boom on Tuesday night. It features the original story of a wedding and many possible fathers while being driven by the music catalog of ABBA. Many members of the production’s cast have performed the show in previous runs, including Victor Wallace as Sam Carmichael. He was the final Sam on Broadway and previously appeared as Sky in the Las Vegas production. Everyone melted seamlessly into their roles.

The Company of MAMMA MIA! 25th Anniversary Tour
Photo by Joan Marcus

Christine Sherrell as Donna Sheridan made you understand how Sophie could have three possible dads. She was beautiful and her voice soared. When I was a child, I had a video of Olivia Newton John reading the Ugly Duckling and I couldn’t help but remember it each time the light shown off Donna’s cheekbone.

Grant Reynolds (Sky), and Alisa Melendez (Sophie Sheridan)
Photo by Joan Marcus

The “youngsters” of the cast were just as talented as their experienced counterparts. The chemistry between Alisa Melendez’s “Sophie” and Grant Reynolds’s “Sky” was palpable. Patrick Park’s “Pepper” elicited my friend to exclaim, “He is dancing his little butt off!” And indeed, he was. Full out does not begin to describe his movements. He gave 1000% but managed to not look overdone or garish.

Patrick Park (Pepper), Jalynn Steele (Tanya), and the Company of MAMMA MIA! 25th Anniversary Tour
Photo by Joan Marcus

Much to my dismay though, I would say the show suffered from sound mixing and mic issues. At times, the live orchestra overpowered the actors to the point that you could not hear them. Jaylnn Steele’s performance of “Does Your Mother Know” was one of my favorite of the night with her dancing and comedic timing but the verses were inaudible due to the guitar. Grant Reynolds was either a whisper or yell depending on where he was on stage. I am sure it was just first night glitches, but you may want to bring an ear plug or two if you have noise sensitivity.

Mama Mia runs through the 18th so you still have many chances to see is dazzling and uplifting show. Next up, the revival of Sondheim’s “Company” debuts at the Fox on February 27th. Mature themes and adult languages means this one might not be for the kiddos. Children can experience Broadway magic on March 16th during “Disney Princess – The Concert.” As always, tickets can be purchased at the Fox online box office.

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