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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

Musical Review: White Christmas Illuminates The Stage With Color And Joy At Fair Park

Though we may not be wishing for a “white” Christmas this year after the Icepocalypse weekend,  Dallas Summer Musicals has brought snow to Dallas in a safe and fun way for the entire family to enjoy.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is a holiday classic, and if you have seen the film, the stage adaptation follows the same storyline.  The story of two showbiz buddies, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, as they team up in business and romance with a sister act to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

The musical showcases a slew of talented performers.  Featuring James Clow as “Bob Wallace,” David Elder as “Phil Davis,” Trista Moldovan as “Betty Haynes” and Meredith Patterson as “Judy Haynes.”  All four are no strangers to the theater, having done numerous Broadway shows.  Each principal character brought a stand out factor to their performances.  Davis and Patterson bring constant laughs with their hilarious tumultuous relationship.  They also kill it in one of the best tap dancing performances I have ever seen at the top of the second act.  But, I will come back to that in a moment.  Moldovan gives jaw dropping power ballad solos that will leave you in awe.  Clow not only has an amazing singing voice, but he also has an incredible speaking voice that makes you feel as if you have traveled back to 1954.  Also appearing in the play is Ruth Williamson as “Martha Watson,” Joseph Costa as “General Waverly,” and the unbelievably too young to be that talented, 9 year-old Shannon Harrington as “Susan Waverly.”  This is Harrington’s second year in a row playing Susan for the national Broadway tour.  I can only imagine where this kid will be at age 16, but something tells me a Tony Award could be involved.

The production of the play was phenomenal.  Director, Norb Joerder deserves enormous praise, as does his entire cast and crew, for the dazzling set design and the quick background changes as each scene passed.  I’m still amazed by how many different set designs Anna Louizos produced, and by how well crafted they were.  Speaking of quick changes, I wish I had counted how many costume changes there were, but I would have lost track.   Costume designer, Carrie Robbins, might just be the scene stealer of the whole show with her numerous eye-widening outfits.   Designed with a variety of color and different styles from short shorts to winter evening wear.  It was like a 1950’s mini fashion show; you can’t wait to see what they will be wearing next!

The musical moves quickly, and at the beginning of Act II the time will really fly.  It starts with my favorite scene out of the show, an impressive tap dance number led by Phil and Judy along with the Chorus. Truly breath-taking choreography.

White Christmas is the perfect show to take your family to during this Christmas break.  There’s laughter, there’s love, there’s music, and best of all there’s snow!

WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL is performing at Dallas Summer Musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park thru December 29th.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com