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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: “Baggage Claim” is a Flight you can Afford to Miss

During awards season, the majority of films I’m watching are intense dramas or dark comedies. So I appreciate getting to take a break with a fun romantic comedy that requires little or no thought. Unfortunately Paula Patton’s new film, Baggage Claim, makes too many uneventful stops and one predictable destination.

Paula Patton plays Montana Moore, a bubbly flight attendant who still hasn’t met Mr.Right. After Montana’s younger sister (Lauren London) gets engaged, she starts to feel the need to find a husband of her own. With her mother (Jenifer Lewis), who has already been married five times, constantly pressuring to find a man and become a real “lady,” Montana sets out for mission “put a ring on it.”  With the help of her co-workers, she embarks on a thirty day challenge to find her future fiancée within the batch of past exes who happen to all be taking flights on her airline.

The acting in this film is mediocre. At times it was hard to remember that Patton was the same actress who played Ms. Rain in Precious. Though Montana is a likeable character, she is also a bit of an irritating one. You like her because she is beautiful and sweet, but her desperation to find a husband comes off ungenuine by her over expressive facial expressions and lack of emotion during her “saddest” times in the film. Jenifer Lewis does a good job as the over dramatic mother who worries her daughter will never get married. I’ve just seen this character so many times before, and they always end with the same resolution that can be a bore to watch. Surprisingly enough, the characters who did make me laugh were Montana’s best friends and fellow flight attendants, Sam (Adam Brody) and Gail (Jill Scott). Scott and Brody make an entertaining duo with some hilarious one-liners. Sadly, these two have more chemistry together than Patton does with any of her suitors, and that’s with Adam Brody playing a homosexual in the film. 

To say Baggage Claim is a cliche romantic comedy is an understatement. This film is so predictable that you can figure out how it is going to end within the first five minutes. That being said, it is still a cute film with a relevantly good message. “The magic isn’t in the getting married, it’s in the staying married.”  With the rush to get married these days and the soon after divorces, it is nice to see a film express how important it is to know and love yourself first before sharing your life with someone else. But other than that message and some cheap laughs, you are left feeling a little underwhelmed with the film.

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language.

Baggage Claim makes it’s landing in theaters today…

If you are in the mood for a more realistic romantic comedy, I recommend Enough Said. Starring the late, James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The film is currently playing in select theaters, but its worth whatever drive you have to take to see. It’s an original story with lots of laughs and an incredibly, charming James Gandolfini.