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Home arrow Reviews arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Mediocre Mama Mia Has Moments
Mediocre Mama Mia Has Moments PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Scott Lewis   
Jun 04, 2014 at 07:46 PM

There are only a handful of musicals that have enjoyed longer Broadway lives than the ABBA inspired Mama Mia.  ABBA who has sold 300 Million units of music and listed as the third, fifth or tenth greatest selling artists of all time depending on which list your reference.  Their music inspires smiles and good feelings to all within ear shot.

Mama Mia is a catalog of these fell good ABBA hits strung together with the tale of a young woman’s search for the identity of her father on her wedding day interspersed.  After snooping through her tight lipped mother’s diary and discovering three possible candidates she invites the trio to attend the nuptials and the hilarity ensues, or so it should.

The big question:  “Is stringing together the unquestionably loved by all hits of a former super group enough to make a Broadway show that is worth seeing?”  The short answer is yes.  But this non-equity tour is replete with problems.

A non-equity tour is a good indication that a show is nearing its shelf life and this extremely scaled down production is not what I have come to expect from a night at the Dallas Summer Musicals.  The combination of the nearly nonexistent sets combined with the off the rack wardrobe and incredibly wooden performances put the entire weight of success on the music of ABBA and that is some heavy lifting.

The cast list credits features a lot of the phrase “National Tour Debut” and not a single Broadway credit is present.  What we are left with is a cast that would serve a regional production well, but a cast without a single power house voice or performance.

Gabrielle Mirabella and Carly Sakolove play Mom Donna’s best friends Tanya and Rosie, respectively.  They both offer great and much needed comedic relief throughout.

The show is not without its moments.  While I remain completely confused by the second act opening dream sequence I was equally thrilled by the imaginative choreography of Lay All Your Love on Me.  The bachelor party in scuba gear complete with flippers delight with a number that includes a high kicking chorus of men that was a show highlight.

Dancing Queen was a blast but hands down the three encore finale was the shows high point.  Though advertised with confetti showering a dancing audience, our night was confetti free and so even the finale suffered.

Ultimately this is a show of moments.  A moment of laughter here; a moment of good choreography there.  Moments that never quite connect.  The one thing that is consistent, that has remained so for nearly forty years is the music of ABBA.  The music alone assures you will leave the theater smiling, singing and in a better place than you were when you entered.

Mama Mia plays Dallas Summer Musicals through Sunday, June 15th.  Tickets are $20-$90.  and are available through Ticketmaster.  Next up at Dallas Summer Musicals, Nice Work if You Can Get It, September 2-14

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