Omaha Community Playhouse features UNO graduate in “Mamma Mia!”

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Photo by Omaha Community Playhouse

Madeline Miller
SENIOR REPORTER

Whether you loved or hated the 2008 Meryl Streep movie “Mamma Mia!,” you’re in for an exciting ride with the vastly different stage version, being performed at the Omaha Community Playhouse from Sept. 15 to Oct.15. I recommend you see it if you get the chance—and bring your mother.

For the uninformed, “Mamma Mia!” is a jukebox musical built around the music of ABBA. It’s filled with lighter numbers (“Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia!”) and powerful ballads (“Winner Takes It All,” “Slipping Through My Fingers.”) Special recognition goes to Sarah Ebke, who embodies the role of Donna, a single mother and hotel proprietor raising her daughter on an idyllic Greek isle. Her powerful voice carried overwhelming emotion through her group numbers, her duets and especially her solos.

Donna’s daughter Sophie is played by Victoria Luther, a UNO graduate with a promising voice. The one flaw holding her back from reaching her on-stage mother’s skill is her tendency to fall just slightly flat on the notes. Sophie is a 20-year-old bride-to-be in search of her father. She invites three of her mother’s former lovers to her wedding in hopes that she will know which one is her birth father so he can walk her down the aisle, thus kicking off the plot of the musical.

The lovers, Sam (Adam Hogston), Bill (Mike Palmreuter) and Harry (Jacob J. Roman), all decide to attend, and they can all hold their own against Ebke’s stellar voice.

The two best numbers in the musical are both sung by Donna, “Winner Takes It All,” sung painfully to a former love, and “Slipping Through My Fingers,” sung about her daughter.

The upbeat numbers are filled with spandex, glitter and energy. The slow songs are brimming with genuine emotion. The costumes and scenery both hit the mark, transporting the audience far away to a beautiful Greek island.

The latter will bring audience members to tears if they let it. The upbeat numbers are filled with spandex, glitter and energy. The slow songs are brimming with genuine emotion. The costumes and scenery both hit the mark, transporting the audience far away to a beautiful Greek island.

But the real scene stealers are the background characters. A Greek chorus, named in the program as Clio, Thalia, Calliope, Dionysus and Selenius are silently in the background of nearly every scene, reacting beautifully to the story unfolding around them and creating their own story as well.

“Mamma Mia!” is a chick-flick in a stage musical, and it could not be more enjoyable. Although it is a perfect mother-daughter outing, every family member will find something to love in this heartfelt, dream-like ABBA love affair.

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