As spring rolls in and the school year nears its end, that means one thing for theatre groups: it’s time to put on a show. At Olentangy Liberty High School, that show will be their reproduction of the 1999 hit, “Mamma Mia!”
Beginning next Thursday, May 2, the Liberty Theater Workshop (LTW) will be performing the musical in the school theatre, located at 3584 Home Road in Powell. The production will run through Sunday, May 5. Shows for Thursday through Saturday will begin at 7 p.m., and the Sunday show will start at 2 p.m.
“Set on a Greek Island Paradise in 1999, “Mamma Mia!” follows the story of a mother and daughter’s world turned upside down on the eve of the daughter’s wedding,” a press release for the show states. “This is a tale of love, laughter and friendship woven around the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs. With 24 of ABBA’s greatest hits featured in the musical, if you’re not dancing in the aisles, you’ll at least be humming the songs on your way out of the theater.”
The cast features more than 60 unique Olentangy Liberty High School student actors, including seniors Natalie Smith (Donna), Shannon Mehrtens (Sophie), Courtney Hull (Tanya), Shannon Naylon (Rosie), Nathan McCallum (Bill) and Timothy Gies (Sam), with junior Harris Hernandez (Sky), and sophomore Cade Miller as Harry. The production staff includes Director Dan Skrovan, Assistant Director Doug O’Neal, Choreographer Cassie Gress and Technical Director Ryan Harrison.
Sixty-one people will be on the stage at any given time during the show, Skrovan said, marking one of the biggest casts he’s ever had for a production.
Asked why “Mamma Mia!” was selected for the spring production, Skrovan was straight to the point.
“It’s popular, I’m going to be perfectly honest,” he said, adding the amateur rights to produce the musical just became available late last year.
Skrovan said LTW is one of 12 schools in Central Ohio that have either already performed “Mamma Mia!” this year or will do so this spring. Given that the show has been around for 20 years now, but only just now available to schools, he said the interest in the musical was already existent prior to its selection for the spring production.
With the musical being made into a movie in 2008, he said most of his crew were already very familiar with the show, making it an easy sell. However, he said that while they naturally are going to use details of the characters they have already picked up from their familiarity with the show, he encourages them to make those characters their own.
According to Skrovan, the audience can expect a musical that “doesn’t take itself too seriously,” noting it is filled with plenty of disco songs from the 1970s. However, he went on to say the audience will see a lot of great dancing of all types, as well as great vocals from a cast of voices he called “stellar.”
He said the energy of the cast has been what he has most enjoyed seeing through preparations, adding there is a natural level of competition and want for the show to be great from the kids who have seen other schools and students they know already put on the “Mamma Mia!” production this year.
If Skrovan’s expectations hold true, the cast will have plenty to be proud of and celebrate.
“You’ve seen (Mamma Mia!), but you’ve never seen it done the way we are doing it,” Skrovan said. “This is ‘Mamma Mia!’ to the extreme.”
Tickets sold through presale for the show have already surpassed the total tickets sold for the entire length of last year’s production of “State Fair,” suggesting each show will feature a capacity crowd on hand to take it in. There will still be tickets available at the door, Skrovan said, noting he sets a limit on presale tickets so that he is able to keep 100 or so tickets available for purchase at the door.
To purchase tickets, visit the box office at OLHS or buy online at www.ticketracker.com (keyword: liberty).
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.