KEARNEY — Mamma Mia, here they go again! Kearney High School Theatre students are prepping for another school year’s fall play, this time taking on the famed musical, “Mamma Mia!,” and all its Grecian glory.
Having one of the most elaborate sets in recent years, complete with a boat protruding from a stage wall and the stage transformed into a dock and Greek Isle cityscape, Kearney’s theater will be alive with the sounds of ABBA starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.
“It was a lot of work. … The boat was something that someone donated from up north. They said, ‘If you come get it, you can have it.’ So we went up on a Saturday, my husband and I, and brought it back down. The kids cut it up out here in the parking lot with a chainsaw. We had lessons on how to use a saw and power tools,” said Director and drama teacher Wendy Fish said. “...The kids have learned a lot. They had to research the Greeks and the Greek islands.”
“Mamma Mia!” was chosen because it provided parts for four strong female leads but also because it’s all about family, friendship and forgiveness, said Fish.
“It’s all about family and forgiveness and friendship and we’re just playing the good parts,” she said. “It’s a lovely sentiment.”In addition to providing roles for the musicals’ strong female leads, Fish said the group found terrific boys to play parts as well.
One of those is senior and first-time musical thespian Kade Webb, playing the role of Sam. For Webb, being “really into” the film version of “Mamma Mia!” is an understatement.
“It’s my go-to movie. I used to watch it every night before I would go to sleep. … I said, the only way I would ever do a musical is it were ‘Mamma Mia!,” he said. “... I think Sam is dynamic character because he has two very distinct sides; one is very strong and architect and boss-like, and the other is he really has a soft spot for Donna and Sophie. I think it’s really cool that he has this big front, but when it comes to Donna and Sophie, he’s just a big softy.”
Tess Martens, who plays Donna Sheridan, is in her fifth year of high school musical productions.
“I love the program and I love Mrs. Fish. I was really excited to do the show. … I feel a little biased to say this one is my favorite because I loved my last one. I’ve loved all of them for different reasons,” she said. “I loved ‘The Addams Family’ because it was so macabre and so different. It’s the total opposite of this and I really like that.”
Another one of the strong female leads who is well-known on the Kearney stage is Madison Pope, this time playing the role of Sophie Sheridan.
“I think I like this production because it’s so familiar to people. People love ABBA and the music in it. I think it’s really awesome that we get to do a rendition of it and show it to the public,” she said, adding she has researched the role by watching various versions of the musical and watched the movies. “Sophie is very lighthearted. In my opinion, she wants to please everyone. I think throughout this musical, she grows a lot. I like that she learns that she doesn’t have to please everyone and that she can do what makes her happy.”
Pope also had advice for would-be audiences.
“They should come,” she said.