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Mamma Mia, The Broadway Musical, Tuesdays at Act2PV

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – If you’re an ABBA fan, you won’t want to miss Mamma Mia! The Broadway Musical, playing at Act2PV’s Danny’s Main Stage Playhouse on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm. Puerto Vallarta entertainment writer, Gary Beck, who attended a recent performance, tells us about this not-to-be-missed show.

Mamma Mia! returns for its fifth season at Act2PV. This event is an award winning Broadway show and movie based on the music and lives of ABBA, the fantastic Swedish pop group. Listeners are taken back to earlier days of pop and disco.

The show has undergone new directions and new cast members. Theater should never stand still. Everyone was excited and energetic as evident in their smiling but self-assured faces.

ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus wrote all the music and their group experienced great success with these universal songs. The main character Sophie is working with her family in preparation for her wedding. She longs to find out her birth father’s identity and invites three men from her mother’s past to her wedding in hopes that she will discover the true father. This leads to a funny and touching weekend at the taverna among other guests.

The talented cast has been in dozens of local shows. Through long, demanding rehearsal periods, they maintained their excitement and freshness. It is a delight to see so many young people performing in stunning fashion and enjoying themselves. The excited energy spread throughout the theater.

Donna (Stephanie Wright Watts) is the owner of the Taverna on the Greek island of Kalokairi. She led the fun girl group “Donna and the Dynamos”. She is a hard-working mother raising a twenty-year-old daughter who is soon marrying Sky. Stephanie’s presence on stage signaled an array of great talent and charm in front of the viewers.

Sophie (Ximena Peña Esparza) is the bride-to-be, determined to find out who her father is and have a traditional family marriage. She is wild at heart but wishes to settle down. She secretly invited three past lovers of her mother’s diary. She is young, bright and energetic, especially with I Have a Dream. Ximena is a true delight with a masterful vocal ability and range.

Tanya and Rosie (Cate Elizabeth Valcic and Miana Melendez) are longtime friends of Donna’s. Both have great singing voices and they portray their acting skills in great evidence. Tanya – one of Donna’s oldest and best friends, a very fun-loving lady and likes the boys. Does Your Mother Know becomes a super question to Sophie and her inviting past lovers to her wedding. Rosie is an unmarried, free-spirited former member of the Dynamos and dances very often. Both of these top billing women are flawless in their roles, encouraging wild audience approval.

The trio of possible fathers consists of Sam, Harry (Crist P. Thomas, excellent every second on stage) and Bill who join in singing Thank You for the Music. Al Carswell is the wandering man who seems to regret not obtaining all that he desired. His booming vocals accentuate his songs.

Sam has regretted leaving Donna all his life and now finds himself divorced and back in her presence. Harry was once a partying musician, in the closet until the very end. Bill is a travel writer searching for love. These men have not seen Donna in close to twenty years. Each man took center stage in their pursuit of Donna, mostly unsuccessfully. Their delivery of several songs were strikingly enjoyable.

Sky is Sophie’s fiance, searching for love on the island. His love for Sophie is formidable and sings Lay All Your Love on Me.

This show is packed with laughter, love, music and dancing. The set design is well-constructed with the props as big as walls are rotated right before your eyes. Crew members scurry in the dark, sliding and removing according to the upcoming scene. The costumes are remarkably stunning and designed to accent the theme and settings. Best of all, the choreography is top notch with every dancer knowing the exact steps as they swirl, around singly and in clusters.

Donna’s solos like The Winner Takes it All and Slipping Through My Fingers were outstanding highlights of the 18+ entries, all written by the ABBA team, evoking memories of younger days.

Group performances of S.O.S., Chiquitita, Dancing Queen, Super Trooper, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), Money, Money, Money and Mamma Mia were wonderful, with cast members flitting in and out, individually but as a team.

After reprises of Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen, Stephanie asked, “One More?” The full assembly danced to a rowdy Waterloo. Slowly, groups of cast members came forward with bows to receive salutes from the audience for their talents and providing such a joyful evening of song and dance of ABBA songs. Finally, the top stars tonight came out and took turns acknowledging the loud roars and a well-deserved standing ovation.

Mamma Mia is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 423 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019.

Mamma Mia! The Broadway Musical is presented on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm at Act2PV’s Danny’s Main Stage Playhouse. Tickets to all shows are available online at Act2PV.com.

For more of Gary’s Puerto Vallarta show reviews, join his More of Beck’s Best: Theater, Cabaret and More! group on Facebook.

Act2PV is located at the corner of Basilio Badillo and Insurgentes in Zona Romantica. If you have questions, please send an email to info(at)act2pv.com. For more information about shows, or to buy tickets, check out their website or go to the box office, now open 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily.

Click HERE to learn more about Act2PV.

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