Lyric audiences travel to Greek isle with ‘Mamma Mia!’

Gene Deason / Special to the Bulletin
The wedding of the daughter of one of three longtime friends brings them back together in the Lyric Theatre’s production of “Mamma Mia!” The musical’s storyline is built around the hit music of the Swedish group ABBA. Pictured from left to right leading the cast in one of the songs are Tommie Bailey as Tanya, Billie Harvey as resort owner Donna, and Shannon Lee as Rosie. The show opened Friday night, and continues on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through July 25.
A wedding planned for an exotic Greek isle creates drama in “Mamma Mia!” which continues this weekend at Brownwood’s Lyric Theatre. A 2:30 p.m. matinee will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18. The musical’s storyline is built around the hit tunes of the Swedish group ABBA. The engaged couple are portrayed by Emily Borbon as Sophie and Drew Ervin as Sky. The show continues  next weekend with two shows Friday, a show Saturday night, and wraps up with another Sunday, July 25 matinee. Tickets may be reserved online at www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com.

Audiences at Brownwood’s Lyric Theatre are being transported to an exotic Greek isle this weekend as performances of the pop musical “Mamma Mia!” continue.

The show, based on the hits of the music group ABBA, opened Friday night and continues with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. Two shows were held Saturday, and four more are scheduled next weekend.

“The show is chock full of good music for the audience to enjoy,” director Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld said, “and most of the songs are familiar hits. Our cast members have gorgeous voices and are super folks.”

   ABBA’s classic tunes are used to tell the story of a young woman’s search for her birth father as she prepares for her wedding being held at the island resort owned by her single-parent mother. The spirited bride-to-be secretly invites three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years earlier, believing that one of them will prove to be her father and will escort her down the aisle.

While the musical offers plenty of dancing along with ABBA’s music, Humfeld said the storyline is fun, and the cast has fun right along with it. The costumes worn in the show are throwbacks to the 1970s and 1980s, which Humfeld said adds to the fun.

“The set is a very pretty environment on an island is Greece,” Humfeld added, “and that set is beautiful. The audience gets a chance to enjoy an island vacation along with the performers.”

The audience also gets a chance to join the party at the end of each show, as they are encouraged to sing along with three of ABBA’s most familiar hits.

“Get up and wiggle if you want,” Humfeld said.

The presenting sponsor for “Mamma Mia!” is TexasBank.

Members of the cast are as follows: Sophie Sheridan is played by Emily Borbon, Ali is played by Jordan Roberts, Lisa is played by Reagan Fraze, Donna Sheridan is played by Billie Harvey, Tanya is played by Tommie Bailey, Rosie is played by Shannon Lee, Sky is played by Drew Ervin, Pepper is played by Jake Bowren, Eddie is played by James Williams, Harry Bright is played by Stephen Haynes, Bill Austin is played by Jeff Woods, Sam Carmichael is played by Jonathan Harvey, and Father Alexandrios is played by Doug House.

The ensemble features Stephanie Brownlee, Laira Card, Aleah Curtis, Jessica Dennis, Shannon Dennis, Kandice Harris Emily Haynes, Cassia Rose, Domonique Stephens, Jill Underwood, Sam Cox, Joseph Dennis, Rickey Jones, Caleb Dennis, Eric Dick, Paul Underwood, and Drex Holt.

Among the ABBA songs included in the show are “I Have A Dream,” “Honey, Honey,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Thank You for the Music,” “Mamma Mia,” “Super Trouper,” “The Name of the Game,” “Voulez Vous,” “One of Us,” “Does Your Mother Know,” “Our Last Summer,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Dancing Queen,” “Take A Chance on Me,” and others.

In addition to Humfeld, the production staff includes Dean Kiesling, musical director; Tommie Bailey, choreographer; Billie Harvey, technical director; Kris Henry, stage manager; Lori Arp, costumer; Chase Phelps, lighting designer; Krysta Bunch, light board operator; Hunter Pitman, sound board operator; Allie Haynes and Shelby Wilson, spotlight operators; Jimmy Henry, Krysta Bunch, Laira Card, Hunter Pitman, Shannon Sheehan, James Williams, Sam Cox, Jeff Woods, and Reagan Fraze, set construction; and Sam Harvey, crew.

Tickets for the Lyric production are available online at www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com. They cost $20 for adults and $15 for students. Concessions may also be ordered and purchased in advance through the site. The show is this year’s summer musical for the Lyric, and patrons may reserve seats using the code they were sent went they subscribed to the 2021 season.

Audiences wishing to attend a socially distanced performance should reserve seats for the afternoon matinee on Friday, July 23.

Curtain times next weekend will be at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 23; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25.

“Mamma Mia!” was written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, founding members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia.” Ulvaeus and Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show. Singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad was involved financially in the production, and she was also present at many of the premieres around the world.