GROVE CITY – Get ready to sing and shimmy along with Grove City Area High School’s spring musical, “Mamma Mia!”
“It’s that unabashed joy,” Lauren Wright said on Tuesday afternoon during rehearsal.
The 18-year-old senior plays Sophie, one of the lead roles in the musical set on a Greek island to the tune of the pop band ABBA’s greatest hits.
The school’s drama department presents the spring production at 7 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13 in the auditorium.
“Mamma Mia!” tells the story of Sophie and her search for her birth father. Three men from her mother Donna’s past show up for Sophie’s wedding, and what follows is sure to have people laughing, dancing, singing, and perhaps shedding a few tears, Wright said.
Wright was taking a break with Emily Minch, a 17-year-old senior who plays Donna. They were excited to land the roles for their final high school musical.
“We’re best friends,” Wright said.
Emily said she was “ecstatic” when she found out that director Patrick McElroy had selected “Mamma Mia!” for this year’s show.
Many people are familiar with music, and either the stage version of “Mamma Mia!” or the movie starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried.
“It will make people feel good,” said Emily, who was taking a break with Wright.
Emily has been listening to the soundtrack, studying performance videos online, and working hard on Donna’s solo, “The Winner Takes It All.”
“I set Donna as my lock screen,” she said of her phone.
Emily, who will be studying theater at the State University of New York, favors “Dancing Queen,” and she hopes that everyone enjoys the show, which features some flashy costumes, disco balls, and bright lights.
“It’s that pure escapism,” Wright said.
Wright said that she likes “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” and “Voulez-Vous.” Her favorite scene is at the end of the first act, when the whole cast is gathered on stage for a big party.
“The people are very special,” Wright said of being part of a high school musical.
Many of the cast members helped with set construction, which is still in the works. Wright and her father built the wooden dock.
“It has that summer feel to it,” she said.
Wright and Emily returned to the stage, joining the other leads and the chorus. They went through some dance moves with Ashley Hazy, the show’s choreographer, singing along with “Take a Chance on Me.”
McElroy, who teaches theater arts and is the school librarian, has been overseeing the musicals for 11 years.
“It’s probably my favorite part of my job,” he said.
“Mamma Mia!” seemed like a good fit for this year, especially since amateur licensing rights were recently released. Grove City is one of the first high schools in the region to host the production.
The students have doing great, and many of them are also rehearsing at home. He encourages community members to come and support the arts, and he promises a “visual spectacle.”
“We’re blessed with a great arts program,” McElroy said.
Hannah Jaskiewicz, music director and conductor, said a professional eight-piece orchestra will be providing the music.
With a large chorus, she gets to enhance the music with extra harmonies, and she’s looking forward to seeing the audience enjoy the students’ talents.
“It really is impressive,” said Jaskiewicz, who is the school’s choir director and teaches music electives.
Jaskiewicz and McElroy noted that March is Theatre in Our Schools Month and Music in Our Schools Month.
Lexie Cavolo, the student director, has been helping with the music, publicity and set design, and she’s working on posters, T-shirts, and a large call board that will be displayed outside the school on West Main Street.
“Mamma Mia!” will be a wonderful experience for audience members, she said.
“You’re gonna have a fun time,” said Lexie, 16, a junior.
Other cast members are: Belle Hughes as Ali, Abby Frey as Lisa, Genevieve Harvey as Tanya, Abby Weller as Rosie, Jacob Sack as Sky, James Amodei as Pepper, Liam Wise as Eddie, Corban Dunn as Harry, Cody Wilson as Bill, Nick Paparone as Sam, and Ethan Hines as Father Alexandrios.
Elizabeth Buchan is the stage manager. Members of the chorus are Peyton Byers, Julianna Caramanno, Chloe Chinn, Gabby Collins, Mary Coulter, Isobel Day, Ethan Hines, Hannah Foley, Logan Fuss, Makenna Isles, Sam Nuss, Olivia Persic, Devyn Risch, Tessa Stewart, Brent Strange, Coral Sweetapple, Izzy Voltz and Kayla Witzke.
Tickets are $5 for students, and $7 for adults. They will be sold at the door. Pre-sale discount packages will be sold in the high school office starting April 4.