Donna (Stephanie Roth) seems a little annoyed by the antics of Tonya (Erin Ormond) and Rosie (Jenni Burke) in the Chemainus Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia! (Photo by Don Bodger)

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

Mamma Mia! is the mother of all musicals these days and begins the longest run of any Chemainus Theatre Festival production in history Friday, May 24 with the first of 100 performances.

It’s also destined to be the theatre’s all-time best seller, as the buzz about this show continues to build in advance of the opening.

Michelle Vogelgesang, the theatre’s marketing and sales director, said the show was almost 50 per cent sold as of last week. Blocks of tickets were suddenly being purchased, as people made sure to secure preferred dates between now and the finale on Aug. 31.

“Lots of excitement,” said Vogelgesang. “I think tickets will go fast.”

“I do feel like I’m stepping into a show that has already inherent energy about it,” said hometown Chemainus actress Erin Ormond, who plays the role of Tonya.

“People really identify with these characters. I feel like we’re creating something exciting. It felt like a party. Everybody’s so joyous and happy – ready to go and ready to work.”

Rehearsals started on April 29 and it’s been a fast track to the opening for the cast and the behind-the-scenes crew.

The award-winning story of Mamma Mia! is magnified by the songs of ABBA, composed by former members of the band, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Mamma Mia! tells the story of Donna (Stephanie Roth), an independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on a beautiful Greek island. She is about to let go of spirited daughter Sophie, whom she’s raised alone.

For Sophie’s (Alex Gullason) wedding, Donna has invited two lifelong best girlfriends – practical and no-nonsense Rosie (Jenni Burke) and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tonya (Ormond) – from her one-time backup band, Donna and the Dynamos.

Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna’s past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier.

New love blooms and old romances rekindled over the course of 24 chaotic and magical hours on a lush island full of possibilities. The show is packed with the magic of ABBA’s many well-known hit songs that don’t need any introduction such as Super Trouper; Dancing Queen; Knowing Me, Knowing You; Take a Chance on Me; Money, Money, Money; The Winner Takes It All; and SOS.

Ormond said it’s her first time working with Burke, but she’s seen her on stage before. The three women have found instant chemistry in their roles.

“I knew stepping in, these are some fantastic women I’m going to be working with,” said Ormond.

Despite her abundant stage experience, Ormond said it’s been at least 20 years since she’s done a singing role.

“This is huge,” she indicated. “To come and do a summer musical of this scale is a huge gift.

“The talent, I’m in awe as I hear them sing and dance and how they put it together.”

Ormond gives huge kudos to the stage, lighting, costume and directing personnel for their work on the production.

ABBA music is one element that strikes a chord for Ormond with her dad, who’s deceased, from their past.

“I would sit and listen to the records over and over,” she conceded. “My dad’s favourite song was Fernando. Being part of the show has another whole layer for me. That was one of my connections with my dad.

“The other part about the music, I find, it’s deceivingly simple. There’s this infused sense of joy every time we start singing the songs.”

Getting everybody moving and having a good time is what it’s all about.

“Stephanie said by the time you start doing the show, everybody’s in a good mood,” added Ormond.

Playing Tonya has been enlightening in so many ways.

“For me, it’s very real the relationship between the women,” Ormond explained. “They’re all in different places in their lives.”

For her character, “she’s finding herself again. I think that connection with her youth reminds her of that part of herself, strong and free.”

It’s going to be an extremely busy several months for Ormond. She steps right into the production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession, running Sept. 13-Oct. 5, overlapping rehearsal time while Mamma Mia! is still on stage.

 

Just Posted

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read