“It makes us smile and laugh. It makes us reminisce and encourages us to sing along. It sets out to do nothing but bring us joy and happiness, and it does just that – in spades.”
The musical is rated PG – Parental Guidance is suggested.
Join the more than 60 million fans of MAMMA MIA! when Genesius Theatre brings the story to the stage beginning on Oct. 11. The hilarious tale, based on the book by Catherine Johnson, details a young woman’s search for her birth father while on a Greek island paradise. Before wedding her fiancé Sky, she sets out on a quest to discover the identity of her father, bringing three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. With music and lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, some songs by Stig Anderson, and famous hits from ‘70s Swedish pop/dance group ABBA, you’re sure to be dancing (and singing along) in your seat.
Aside from its title number, well-known songs include the ever-popular “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Super Trouper,” “S.O.S” and many more. MAMMA MIA! is truly a stage production of ABBA’s greatest hits. Deemed a “jukebox musical,” the production is free-spirited and fun, and certainly a must-see for fans of the group that inspired the show.
Among those bringing the show to the stage behind-the-scenes are: Kevin Cooper, Music Director/Conductor; Sophie Xiong, Choreographer; Joe Swantek, Set Designer; Dave Neel, Lighting Design; and Albert Garcia, Sound Design.
Playing Sam, one of Sophie’s possible fathers, is Christopher Sperat, also directing the production. With Genesius for 25 years now, he’s eager to perform his favorite ABBA number, “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” and says audiences can expect, “lots of fantastic singing, romantic liaisons, laughs-a-plenty, perhaps some sequins, scantily-clad beachcombers, professional state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and a full orchestra of some of the best musicians in Berks!” Who doesn’t love all of that? He recalls that after the tragic terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, MAMMA MIA! was the first musical to open on Broadway. “It was just what NYC (and the country) needed,” Sperat says. “It makes us smile and laugh. It makes us reminisce and encourages us to sing along. It sets out to do nothing but bring us joy and happiness, and it does just that – in spades.”
Emily Rhinehart plays Donna, Sophie’s mother. She started with Genesius about five years ago upon the encouragement of Sperat. She describes her MAMMA MIA! character as “a complete badass.” Says Rhinehart, “She is a self-made woman and has built her life upon not needing anyone to get by. It feels great to portray a strong woman.”
Speaking of strong women, much of the cast is comprised of such. Amy Bourey is one of the “Dynamos” of the show: Tanya. She explains, “She’s sassy and sophisticated and still knows how to party. She is also a loyal friend to Donna and Rosie (played by Becka Malanios) and would do anything for them.”
Malanios, who is sometimes on the behind-the-scenes side of productions at Genesius, enjoys taking the stage and the camaraderie of said Dynamos. She asserts that those in attendance will benefit from what cast members deem, “The Genesius Difference.” She explains, “From lighting, to sound, to set, to costumes and the cast, we will make you feel like you just stepped onto a Greek Island.”
A warning from Rhinehart though, “One hundred percent of attendees will have ‘Dancing Queen’ stuck in their head for the next week.”
ADDITIONAL CAST MEMBERS INCLUDE:
Bill – played by John Browning
Harry – played by Sean C. Hafer
Sky – played by Panayiotis Clauser
Sophie – played by Emily Fry
-info written by Nikki M. Murry
“...Audiences can expect 'lots of fantastic singing, romantic liaisons, laughs-a-plenty, perhaps some sequins, scantily-clad beachcombers, professional state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and a full orchestra of some of the best musicians in Berks!”
Performing at Genesius Theatre
153 North 10th Street, Reading PA 19601
Genesius Theatre is a Performance Venue that specializes in Musical Theatre with professional live orchestras. Genesius performs 10 productions annually, 3 of which feature kids / teens exclusively. The theatre also doubles as a learning center offering summer theatre classes annually. Genesius offers state of the art lighting and modern effects. You will feel immersed in their up-close atmosphere of the performances; the true “Genesius Difference”.
As a 501C3 Non-Profit Organization, Genesius relies on generous donations within the community from people like you. We trust in the power of this inspiring & dynamic medium to transform the artists who create it, the audiences who enjoy it, and the patrons who support it.
December 6th thru the 15th, 2019
Directed by Chris Sperat
In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages.