Opening night approaches

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Those attending the upcoming Paris Community Theater production of “Mamma Mia” should be prepared for fun, laughter and great music, according to the Stuart Metcalf, the director of production.

The show is 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12-13 and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at the Paris Center of Fine Arts.

“Mamma Mia” is the second production of the Paris company, following the nearly sold-out 2018 show “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The show, which has been in rehearsal since early June, was selected from votes cast by audiences at last year’s production, Metcalf said.

“I think everyone knows the general outline of the story,” the Paris native said. “It’s silly, fluffy fun featuring ABBA music from the 1970s. The cast is having a great time.”

This year’s production includes a professional set designed by Adam Koch for the production at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Me. Metcalf said he is familiar with Koch’s work because he created the set for “Million Dollar Quartet.” Metcalf served as a production assistant for that show.

The set — which required a 53-foot trailer for hauling — was located at Muse Machine in Dayton, Ohio. Cody and Lindsey Keys of Cody Keys Trucking LLC provided the transportation for the set to Paris and back to Dayton when the show is finished.

The set utilizes sliding pieces instead of flying pieces, Metcalf explained.

“I liked the functionality,” he noted. “I wanted to highlight the technical capacity of this beautiful theater.”

“Mamma Mia” is a jukebox musical based on the songs of Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, former members of ABBA. The title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia.”

The musical premiered in London’s West End in 1999, in Toronto in 2000 and on Broadway in 2001. A movie based on the musical was released in 2008.

More than 60 million people worldwide have seen the show. As of 2018, the show is the seventh longest-running show in West End history. The Broadway show closed in September 2015 following a 14-year run.

It takes place on the fictional Greek island Kalokairi where 20-year-old Sophie Sheridan (Christiana Marlowe) is preparing to marry her fiancé, Sky (Sean Blair). Sophie wants her father to walk her down the aisle but doesn’t know who he is. She discovers her mom’s old diary and finds entries with clues to who her father might be — Sam Carmichael (Tanner Laughlin), Bill Austin (Christian Landes) and Harry Bright (Aaron Rhoads).

Three months before her wedding, she mails wedding invitations to the three men without letting her mother know. The only people who know are her two bridesmaids, Lisa (Kadi Henry) and Ali (Caiti Kozelichki).

A couple of days before the wedding, Donna (Erin Hutchison) begins receiving guests including her longtime best friends Tanya (Michelle Jacobs) and Rosie (Melanie Clark). The trio was a girl group called “Donna and the Dynamos.”

The two-act musical’s story moves toward the conclusion of who is Sophie’s father, if there is a wedding and what the future holds for the characters.

Other cast members are Kaleb Reed as Pepper and Treston Jones as Eddie. Ensemble members are Grace Vaughn, Jackie Landsaw, Jordyn Davis, Agnes Wright, Millie Arp, Megan Houlihan, Haley Sanders, Bethanny Lawson, Katarina Waltz, Eric Marlowe, Daegan Hood, Elizabeth Taylor, Amanda Hood, Kristin Chittick and Craig Smith. Jane Blair, Lisa McCulloch and David Kirsch are working as stage managers.

Choreographer for the production is professional choreographer and musical theater actor Jennie Hughes, who was hired by Metcalf following a search and audition. She has spent the last six weeks in Paris working with the cast. (See related story on page 1B)

“This show needed the flash and dazzle of a professional choreographer,” Metcalf explained.

Metcalf noted it is not just Paris residents who are in the show. There are cast members from Chrisman, Hume, Savoy and Charleston.

“We are excited that other people want to be a part of our company,” he said.

Costumes for the production were purchased from The Little Theater on the Square in Sullivan. They will be available for rental by other companies, Metcalf said.

Metcalf is hopeful “Mamma Mia” will be another success for the Paris Community Theater which will allow the group to grow. Last year the group produced two shows, “Joseph” and “Backwards Broadway,” a one-night cabaret.

“We’ve expanded this year to three shows including the musical, a children’s show in August and another cabaret,” he said, adding the group hopes to continue to deliver productions to Edgar County.

Next year’s musical depends on how many attend the performances of “Mamma Mia.”

“We’re looking at a couple of shows, but a lot of it will depend on our ticket sales,” he said.

Tickets for the show are available at Prospect Bank or online at www.pcofa.net.