Since “Mama Mia!” debuted on a London stage in 1999, audiences all over the world have enjoyed the “Super Trouper” musical that has made “Money, Money, Money” because millions of people were willing to “Take a Chance on Me.”
The play arrived on Broadway in 2001 and stayed 14 years, the ninth longest run in history.
The play, based on an assortment of ABBA songs, was turned into a movie in 2008, with Meryl Streep playing the star role of Donna. Ten years later, a sequel “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again” hit the screen.
And now, it’s at the Town Theatre in Columbia. And folks are so excited about it that Town Theatre has added an extra show — a 3 p.m. matinee on May 11.
Rebecca Goodrich Seezen plays the role of Donna in Town’s version. She took time to answer a few questions about performing the iconic play.
Q. Prior to the play, were you a fan of ABBA songs?
A. I have always loved ABBA songs - especially for karaoke nights! “Dancing Queen” has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. The energy and fun in their music really tells you what you are in for with this show. It definitely helped to be familiar with the music going in - but I had never really thought about how complex some of their harmonies are. It was a fun challenge to put it all together.
Q. What do you like about the role you play?
A. I love playing Donna. She’s tough as nails, but also has a soft, nurturing side, and she will do anything for her daughter. And she can still disco.
Q. Part of the appeal of “Mama Mia!” (besides the ABBA songs) is the interaction between a rather large ensemble of characters. What are the challenges of being part of the ensemble?
A. The biggest challenge is probably getting everyone together on the choreography. We have a cast full of both seasoned dancers and some new to movement. It is amazing to see how every single cast member is dedicated to getting every step right. Of course the up side is some huge dance numbers with a rich, full vocal sound.
Q. Another reason for then popularity of “Mama Mia!” is just how much fun it is. Is it easy to have fun?
A. It is so easy to have fun with this show every night, no matter your mood. The ABBA music just sets the tone for everything and I think the audience will feel it. I can honestly say this is the most fun I have ever had in a show. And everyone loves a happy ending.
Q. What’s your favorite scene?
A. My favorite scene is when I’m helping Sophie get dressed for her wedding. It is such a tender moment in the midst of all the big numbers and I love connecting with Kasey (Dickason, who plays Sophie). My favorite big number is “Voulez Vous.” It feels like I’m back in a dance club every night.
Q. So if someone has seen the Broadway version and/or the movie, why should they still come to watch the Town Theatre performance of “Mama Mia!”?
A. I think it will actually make the show more fun if they have seen it before. I always love knowing some of the music before I see a show. There is nothing like the experience of live theater and Town Theatre is a perfect setting for this show. We have a huge stage that accommodates a large cast and a gorgeous set. I think our audience will feel like dancing in their seats.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
A. I am so excited for “Mamma Mia!” to wrap up Town’s centennial season. It’s kind of mind-boggling to think about 100 years of shows on this stage. It’s great to be a little part of such a historic theater on the cusp of its next century.
If you go
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays through May 19. Special 3 p.m. matinee on May 11
Where: Town Theatre, 1012 Sumter St.
Tickets: Go to www.towntheatre.com or call 803-799-2510 for ticket information