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Theatre Sarnia staging joyous production of Mamma Mia!

Cathy Dobson Everyone likes to disrespect disco but few can argue the appeal of ABBA and their 1970s disco tunes in Mamma Mia!, says Andrew Colborne, director of Theatre Sarnia’s next production.
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Anaiya Willems, centre, is Sophie in Theatre Sarnia’s producton of Momma Mia! Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

Everyone likes to disrespect disco but few can argue the appeal of ABBA and their 1970s disco tunes in Mamma Mia!, says Andrew Colborne, director of Theatre Sarnia’s next production.

“The musicianship and harmony of ABBA was so rich, so thoughtful,” he said. “These four Swedish folks crafted their songs so well, their music is timeless.”

Colborne is confident ABBA’s songs will have faces smiling and toes tapping — so confident in fact the show’s run is over three weekends instead of the usual two.

It’s the first time Theatre Sarnia has presented a single production for 12 shows, rather than seven.

“We knew it would be really popular and ticket sales are reflecting that,” said Colborne.

When Theatre Sarnia learned they had the rights to perform Mamma Mia!, Colborne and his wife Tia decided to take it on. Colborne is directing while Tia is choreographer.

The couple own Sarnia’s Great Lakes Dance Academy and both have extensive experience in theatre production.

“I’m a singer first and foremost,” said Colborne, who is a graduate of Sheridan College’s theatre program. Once out of school, he learned how difficult it can be to make a living in professional theatre and took a day job as an automotive service technician.

“I love the theatre so it was tough to stay away,” Colborne said. “So when we opened our dance school in 2009, I quit my job as a mechanic and became administrator at Great Lakes.”

The Colbornes cast one of their employees for a lead in Mamma Mia! Eleonore Prokop has a background in professional theatre and performed in Montreal, Toronto and New York for more than three decades.

She was looking for a change a few years ago and moved to Forest, then took a job teaching ballet at Great Lakes Dance Academy.

When auditions were held for Mamma Mia!, Colborne said the decision to cast Prokop as Donna Sheridan was unanimous.

Some of the other 28 cast members are also from Great Lakes Academy. Anaiya Willlems who plays Sophie, is a teacher there. Several of the ensemble are students.

“I’m excited. We’ve had a lot of fun rehearsing through the summer,” Colborne said, rhyming off his favourite Mamma Mia! tunes, such as Super Trouper, Voulez Vous, Winner Takes It All, and I Do, I Do, I Do.

“I like the show and this is a really young, super energetic cast that is working really hard,” said Colborne.

Mamma Mia! opens at the Imperial Theatre Sept. 20 and runs until Oct. 5. Musical director is Dan Sonier.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Mamma Mia!  Theatre Sarnia’s musical comedy for all ages.

WHERE: Imperial Theatre at 168 Christina St. North.

WHEN: Sept. 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, Oct. 2,3,4,5 at 7:30 p.m.  Matinees at 2 p.m. Sept. 22 & 29.

TICKETS: $40 adults, $20 youth, at the box office. Phone 519-344-7469 or online at www.imperial-theatre.net.