MAMMA MIA! – Diggin’ the Dancing Queen, now at the Orpheum Theatre

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Arts Contributor
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

MAMMA MIA! opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 18, 2001 and stayed there less than seven months through May 4th. The next day the show’s very simple and portable revolving sets scooted over to the Cadillac Winter Garden Theatre where it resumed the following day and stayed through New Year’s Eve 2006. By New Year’s Day it had returned to the other Winter Garden and opened promptly somewhere around 8:10, as it will again tonight and in seven other locations around the world and in a variety of languages. Amazing. That translates to a helluva lotta work for an enormous amount of performers appearing in any of its leading roles, supporting roles, and ensemble positions whether on Broadway or in any of the national and international touring companies. “Way-to-go!” Composer/lyricists Benny Anderssn and Björn Ulvaeus and the author of the show’s book, Catherine Johnson, shuffled her flimsy storyline together with the greatest hits of ABBA and created a juke-box-variety show that eventually earned the tag, “the ultimate feel-good musical”. Moreover, the show’s finale has a built-in obligatory standing ovation and you really don’t want to be the only one left sitting lest anyone think you really don’t feel good and/or are ultimately resistant to the infectious Spirit. That, too, is amazing.

happy-mahaney-and-chloe-tuckerHappy Mahaney and Chloe Tucker

But, after more than a decade’s worth of contrived ovations, pseudo Disco lights, cardboard sets, and all the imitation Pop/Rock vocals from whoever is playing whichever part tonight – even the most cult-variety die-hard fan could sense the ho-hum response on the applause meter at the Opening Night performance. No matter how many yards of glimmering silver lamé are involved or the level of squealing perkiness behind the corny bits of humor – it’s, like, totally amazing how really lack-luster the greatest hits of ABBA can become, especially when backed by the unrelenting one-dimensional nature of synthesized sound in the cavernous Orpheum Theatre where monaural output is very alive and well.

The show runs through March 4th. Click here to watch the trailer and to purchase tickets on-line: MAMMA MIA

See related articles:

MAURICE – An Interview with Soren Santos and Alex Kirschner, now at New Conservatory Theatre Center


KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with “The Diva” of Teatro ZinZanni

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