Wednesday, May 10, through Saturday, July 8
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, 1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island IL
Nominated for five 2001 Tony Awards and currently the ninth-longest-running Broadway musical of all time, the internationally beloved Mamma Mia! returns to Rock Island's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse for an eagerly awaited May 10 through July 8 run, with the show's collection of timeless ABBA tunes inspiring the New York Post to call the experience “one of those nights when you sit back and let a nutty kind of joy just sweep over you.”
Mamma Mia! takes place on a small Greek island where Sophie dreams of her perfect wedding – one that includes her father giving her away. The problem, however, is that Sophie doesn’t know who he is. Her mother Donna, the former lead singer of a 1970s pop group, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands. Sneaking a peek in her mother’s old diaries, she discovers three possible fathers: Sam, Bill, and Harry. Sophie secretly invites all three to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him, and what results in Mamma Mia! is a funny, touching, and dance-tastic musical-comedy smash boasting two dozen Swedish-pop hits including ABBA's “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo,” “S.O.S.,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” After opening on Broadway in October of 2001, Mamma Mia! – the longest-running jukebox musical in Broadway history – went on to earn Tony nominations in categories including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical, and finally concluded its New York run in 2015 after 5,758 performances.
Helming his first musical for Circa '21 is Michael Brindisi, the longtime Resident Artistic Director for Chanhassen Dinner Theatres who boasts more than 100 productions to his credit. Area favorite Ron May serves as Mamma Mia!'s music director, with additional members of Brindisi's creative team including choreographer Ashley Becher, scenic designer Kathleen Voecks, costume designer Bradley Robert Jensen, lighting designer Haley Brown, sound designer and engineer Ben Takitch, production manager Jeremy Littlejohn, stage manager and props designer Kendall McKasson, assistant stage manager and deck captain Emmett Boedeker, scenic artist Becky Meissen, and spotlight operator Elsa Besler.
Sophie is played by Caroline Portner, a featured performer in Circa '21's Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Santa Claus: The Musical, and her mother Donna is portrayed by area-theatre veteran Kim Venderginst, who has enjoyed major roles in such Circa '21 presentations as The King & I, The Sound of Music, and the recent Grumpy Old Men: The Musical. The roles of Sam, Bill, and Harry are played, respectively, by Bobby Becher, Kyle DeFaiw, Dan Hasty, and Thomas J. Besler, with Mamma Mia!'s cast also boasting Emmett Boedeker, Abigail Graham, Sarah Hayes, Taylor Lynn, Tommy McCarthy, Molly McGuire, Anthony Milfelt, Caitie L. Moss, Sylvia Muchmore, Morgan Sexton, and Jeremy Weinstein.
In addition to its 7:30 p.m. public previews on May 10 and 11, Mamma Mia! runs May 12 through July 8, with performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 5:30 p.m.; and Wednesday afternoons at 1:15 p.m. All shows will be preceded by meals and pre-show entertainment by the theatre's performing wait staff of Circa '21 Bootleggers, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)786-7733 extension 2 and visiting Circa21.com.