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Mamma Mia! Is Fun and Feisty in Franklin

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Studio Tenn is kicking off their 10th season with a production of the musical Mamma Mia!. Patrons can see this popular play at the Jamison Theater located in The Factory at Franklin (Tennessee) through September 8, 2019.

Mamma Mia! Is Fun and Feisty in Franklin

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson who based her story on the songs of ABBA. Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show. The play premiered in the UK in 1999 and made a big splash in the States in the early 2000's. The production which is still loved today was also made into a 2008 movie starring Meryl Steep. Mamma Mia! is packed with ABBA music, showcasing such hits as "Super Trouper", "Lay All Your Love on Me", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Take a Chance on Me", "Thank You for the Music", "Money, Money, Money", "The Winner Takes It All", "Voulez-Vous", "SOS" and the title track.

The story might be a bit racy for younger fans. The premise is that a bride named Sophie is determined to find out who her birth father is. The young lady was raised by her single mom who is also an independent hotelier in the Greek Islands. Sophie finds her mother's 1979 diary. Upon reading it, she discovers that at the time of her conception, Donna was involved with not one but three potential suiters. Sophie sends notes to the trio without telling her fiancé or mother that she has invited them to the wedding. Her letters implied that they were from Donna.

Sophie is convinced that when she see the men she will know immediately who should be the one to walk her down the aisle. That plan does not work since the relationships are more complicated which is revealed through the characters as they deal with the consequences of their choices. Each shares their stories through humor and music which is the magic behind Mamma Mia!.

Studio Tenn brought the magic of Mama Mia! to the life for us on 08/24/2019. Much of the action takes place in the hotel's café but with a few quick prop moves the scene changed to hotel rooms and later a wedding reception. Colorful, creative costumes were also a highlight of the production as was the lighting and sound. The use of mirror balls during some of the numbers added to the festivities. A live band supported the dancers and singers who ran through a lengthy list of disco-era inspired music.

Studio Tenn like Broadway gives patrons a booklet which list all the actors. As you read their information you will note that they all have impressive lists of credentials. Of particular note, Emily Urbanski recently seen in Studio Tenn's Grease and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, takes the stage as the headstrong Sophie. Emily is sharing the spotlight with Erica Aubrey, her real-life vocal instructor at Belmont University who portrays the sassy Donna. Urbanski is excited for audiences to attend Mamma Mia! a presentation that will have folks dancing, laughing and smiling.

We admit that this was our first time seeing the musical, so it would be hard for us to compare it to other versions but we thoroughly enjoyed Studio Tenn's feisty and fun production. So far we have liked all the shows that we have seen by this talented troupe.

Studio Tenn is a professional regional theatre company and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based out of Franklin, Tennessee. Its programming centers on custom-designed presentations of well-known musicals and plays along with their original "Legacy" series which celebrates a chosen artistic idol. Studio Tenn also supports the local community thorough educational and outreach programs.

The ABBA inspired musical is scheduled to run through September 08, 2019. Studio Tenn will also be presenting Cinderella December 06-29, 2019, Steel Magnolia February 07-16, 2020, their popular Legacy Series March 26-29, 2020 and 9 To 5 May 08-24, 2020.

Related Links: For more information on STUDIO TENN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Studio Tenn | Grease at Studio Tenn


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