Popular musical “Mamma Mia!” shines in Portland

Ever since the premiere of “Mamma Mia!” in the late 1990s, both the story and the corresponding soundtrack of 1970’s pop group ABBA has exploded in popularity. While the 2008 film adaptation of “Mamma Mia!” has gained a cult following since its release, there is nothing like seeing the lively songs performed on stage.

“Mamma Mia!” is about a young engaged woman, Sophie, and her single mother, Donna, who live in Greece. Sophie has only one wish for her wedding, to have her father give her away, unfortunately, she doesn’t know who he is. She decides to invite three possible men who dated her mother when Sophie was conceived in hopes of finding her father. What Sophie didn’t expect was how fun, and emotional, it would be for her mother when Sam, Bill, and Harry show up to the Greek island.

Although many people have seen an adaptation of “Mamma Mia!,” I felt the cast did a great job at meeting the expectations of the classic. Chelsea Williams as Sophie did wonderfully at playing the naive and kind bride-to-be. Gabrielle Mirabella and Emily Price who played Donna’s friends Tanya and Rosie were great as the sophisticated rich woman and the clumsy funny woman. My favorite parts were when the cast performed upbeat songs and big numbers like “Lay All Your Love on Me,” “Voulez-Vous” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”

Other characters I loved were Sam, Bill and Harry. They were all pretty good singers but I just appreciate how charming they were on stage. I also am so attached to the movie that I was happy to see that they looked like their counterparts Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Pierce Brosnan.

I tried hard not to compare the woman who played, Donna, Georgia Kate Haege, to Meryl Streep, who portrayed her in the film, but I couldn’t help myself. Despite her wonderful voice, I found her independent character gave off a little more defensive demeanor which was annoying at certain intervals of the musical.

I give “Mamma Mia!” a B because you can’t go wrong with a 70’s swedish pop band, but I still missed elements from the movie, even if it was mostly the fact that I couldn’t see Streep perform live.