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BWW Reviews: MAMMA MIA - 'Here We Go Again'

Milwaukee was transported from its gloomy, snowy space to a warm Grecian island on Friday when the national tour of Mamma Mia rolled into town. Directed by the brilliant Phyllida Lloyd (who directed both the film version as well as the critically acclaimed film The Iron Lady), the feel good musical certainly had the audiences in Uhlein Hall grooving to the music.

Olivia Ashley Reed as Lisa, Emily Price as Ali,
and Williams as Sophie (left to right)
Photo Credit - Joan Marcus

A mother-daughter relationship for the ages, Sophie Sheridan and her mother Donna are preparing for a wedding. All sorts of loved ones begin arriving per invitation, including three gentlemen whom Sophie has never met. She desperately wants her father to attend her nuptials but, unfortunately, does not know exactly which man that is - so, she invites all three of her mother's suitors of the summer of '79. Beside some of the most well-known songs by ABBA, this musical has an overarching melody that keeps it in tune to new audiences year after year.

Chelsea Williams is darling. Playing Sophie she has an air of innocence about her that gives palpable chemistry between her and her mother. Eager to please those around her, Williams' songs are bursting with young aspiration and love. It's no surprise that she would have chosen to return to a show so fitting for her.

Powerhouse ex-diva Donna, clad fittingly in her iconic half buttoned overalls, is the force behind this show. Her ballads overpower the orchestra while she attempts to maintain her own sanity. Rebecca Mason-Wygal is a remarkable mother figure for Williams. Her moments are sure, strong, and (at times) silly. Without a strong vocalist, this role shrivels under the weight of the showmanship of the rest of the production. Luckily, this tour has Mason-Wygal - so they have strength and then some.

Either the space or the sound system was the enemy to this touring cast on opening night. Oftentimes it seemed that the musicians drowned out the vocalists. While this show is known for its volume, some of the performers just could not be heard. It's never easy to tell what is truly to blame for that, though it is exceedingly unfortunate that so much gets lost amongst the noise.

Thankfully the actors did not appear to be shaken by the sounds and continued to sing their hearts out.

Full Cast
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Part of Lloyd's direction that was particularly fascinating would be the youth given to each of the characters. Sophie and her friends, specifically when they are reunited on the island, appear to be young teenagers in their language and movement. This decision to have them seem far younger than they were, while the 'adults' in the show had a similar persuasion, made the wedding scenario seem out of line. From the start, audiences are either strongly oriented toward Sophie's side or Donna's - this directorial decision is crucial to that separation.

Although the characters must make choices about responsibilities, love, and being forever young, the show itself is ageless. As the years go on the music gets a little bit older, though the messages about family and finding oneself remain the same.

So, to this particular tour I say "Thank You for the Music."

Article reprinted with permission from

What You Say

54 reviews, average rating: (4.5 Stars)

Anonymous: “The Best Musical Ever”

This show was amazing. The costumes and music, made this musical one of the... more

FUYOKS ( Tats A Last Name ): “WOAH ! YUMM”

Woah i loved it it was amazing and good 2 eat ! yummm so yea hope u see it ... more

Anonymous: “Great!!”

I went into Mamma Mia! not expecting much, but it was so much fun. Carolee ... more

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