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Musical Review: “Mamma Mia!” will have you Rocking Out like a Dancing Queen

Mamma Mia makes it almost impossible for you not to jump out of your chair and dance along to the music!

The first time I saw this musical was in theaters with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried as the leading ladies.  I remember how much fun I had while watching that film.  The music, the color, the dancing, it was a blast!  But, that was before I got to experience the live Broadway musical performance in which I was truly able to feel the energy and joy of this story by such a talented cast.

For those who don’t know the story or haven’t seen popular film, let me sum it up.  Three months before Sophie’s (Chelsea Williams) wedding day she decides to send out a letter to three men, one of whom could possibly be her father, in hopes that she will have her dad walk her down the aisle.  Surprisingly enough, all three men agree to come only because they believe Donna (Rebecca Mason-Wygall), Sophie’s mother, sent the invites.  The day before her wedding the three men arrive and they reluctantly agree to not tell Donna what Sophie did and just act like they are in town coincidently.  When Donna finally runs into her past lovers, old feelings return and a possible relationship is rekindled.  As Sophie struggles to figure out which man is her father, she begins to discover a realization in herself.

Talk about a vibrant cast, from the leads to the chorus, everyone involved gave their all while on that stage.  Once you hear t the soft, angelic, voice of Chelsea Williams in the opening number, goose bumps will appear and eyes will be glued to that riveting star.  That is until you meet Rebecca Mason-Wygall.  Her sultry voice will awe you in the hypnotic “Money, Money, Money” number.  The two women make for a fantastic mother/daughter pairing.

Even though these ladies lead the show, each cast member managed to have plenty of “star” moments.  Each of the three men had no problem making a fool of himself for this ridiculously entertaining story.  Mark A. Harmon, who plays Harry Bright, lets loose as the “head banging” British gentleman.  Michael Colavolpe gives a raunchy comedic performance as Bill Austin.  And with a voice that demands to be heard, Jeff Drushal solidifies the fact that Pierce Brosnan should probably leave the singing to the pros.  Expect plenty of laughs anytime Gabrielle Mirabella and Carly Sakolove make an appearance.  The two play Tanya and Rosie, Donna’s long time best friends.  They are immature, outlandish and downright hilarious!  And boys, Tanya’s got a pair of legs that goes on for days.

After an already exciting start, Act II comes back with a bang.  The entire musical flies by, but if you’re sad to watch it end (like me), don’t fret; you will be treated with THREE encore performances.  And this time, everyone is already standing from the deserved ovations, so you can feel free to foolishly dance (like me).

Mamma Mia is running at the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park through Sunday, June 15.

Rating: 4.5/5

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Movie Review: “Five Dances” is an Emotional Journey filled with Sensuality

Dancing speaks louder than words in this latest coming of age narrative by Alan Brown.

Five Dances chronicles the rehearsal period for a series of 5 different dance routines, and tells the stories of the four dancers and primary choreographer inside the studio.  Mainly following Chip (Ryan Steele), an 18 year-old young dancer who has recently arrived in New York City, as he interacts with each of his fellow dancers.  As we get a more personal insight to their lives, we see a strong attraction is formed between Chip and his dance partner, Theo (Reed LuPlau).  Struggling financially and having to deal with a needy mother back home in Kansas, Chip must find a way to make a new home for himself in New York while trying to avoid the undeniable desire he has for Theo.

Making their big screen debuts, the entire cast prove they are multi-talented with their spectacular performances.  Ryan Steele recently wrapped up his run as “Specs” in Disney’s Newsies and is now preparing for an ensemble role in the Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.  In Five Dances, Steele carries the film as the often times shy and awkward lead.  Though Steele is supported by a strong cast, it’s the incredible chemistry he and LuPlau radiate off the screen that makes this film even more memorable.  LaPlau, the Australian born dancer/actor, has been dancing since the age of 18 months.  In 2009 he won the award for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer” for Sid’s Waltzing Masquerade.  Together, LaPlau and Steele give breakout performances through their dramatic romance.

Writer/Director Alan Brown (Private Romeo, Superheroes, Book of Love) does a brilliant job as he manages to tell the storylines largely through the dance numbers.  I never thought a film with barely any dialogue, minimal casting, and basically one setting could say so much.  In most dance movies the dancing is more of a special feature, adding to the entertainment value of the film.  Five Dances heavily relies on the dancing to move the story forward.  As someone who usually prefers a great amount of witty and meaningful dialogue in films, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaged I was by the characters.  A simple leg extension could articulate “Hey I’m young and new but I will work my ass off trying to prove to you that I belong here.”  Just a fair warning, this film is strictly about the characters.  There is no dance competition pitting the characters against each other or even a big eccentric plot.  Besides a climactic love scene that builds up between Chip and Theo, you are in for 83 minutes of pure character development packed with seductive choreography.

Five Dances opens in theaters October 4th.

Five Dances Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on Red Carpet Crash.