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Studio Tenn’s ‘Mamma Mia!’ offers delightful portal to Greek Isles

Great cast makes it hard to resist singing along

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Benji Kern, Studio Tenn’s interim artistic director, and Todd Morgan, its managing director, once again brilliantly bring delightful entertainment to The Factory at Franklin with their cast of wonderfully talented performers, who have opened their 10th season with “Mamma Mia!” 

The multi-award-winning musical, filled with great ABBA classics, such as “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me” and “The Winner Takes It All,” is set in an old, quaint Greek Isles coastline resort owned by single mother Donna Sheridan, played by Erica Aubrey. 

The stunning seaside set created by set designer Mitch White fills the whole stage with stucco Greek building fronts, cobblestones, a boat pier and an amazing background of starry-lit sky with a huge, glowing, orange harvest moon. It is all enhanced with the sounds of waves hitting the shore as seagulls are heard clacking to each other overhead. Before the first song, this amazing set transports the audience into the easygoing Greek Isle environment and the lovely, old hotel maintained and run by Donna and her soon-to-be-married daughter, Sophie, played charmingly by Emily Urbanski.

However, Sophie has a surprise for her mother. 

All throughout Sophie’s life, she has been fatherless, but she has just discovered her mother’s diary, in which 20 years earlier Donna wrote that she had brief encounters with three separate flings: Sam (Miles Aubrey), Bill (Geoff Davin) and Harry (Shawn Knight). Wanting her father to walk her down the aisle, Sophie invites all three to her wedding, sure that she will be able to determine her real father.

Adding to the visiting mix are Donna’s two very funny best friends, Tanya (Melodie Madden Adams), and Rosie (Martha Wilkinson). In the past, these three women, covered in shinning sequins, performed together on stage. Hence, the ABBA music. 

The show is a delight, especially a funny takeoff of a ballet-styled number performed by Sophie’s fiancé, Sky (played Liam Searcy), and the show’s talented male ensemble. They are all attired only in swim trunks, displaying handsome six-packs to go with rubber swim fins on their feet. The showstopper was choreographed by Anna Claire Perry. 

The songs between mother and daughter are beautiful heart-pullers, and Donna’s two girlfriends’ attractions to her ex-boyfriends end in extremely funny duets. 

The whole show is a delight, with an excellent cast, production staff and crew making it a trip to Greece you shouldn’t miss.

The show will continue its run at The Factory through Sept 8. For more information, go to studiotenn.com or call the box office at 615-541-8200.

A visit to Mafiaoza’s, also in The Factory, is a perfect way to complement your theatrical trip to Greece.

The restaurant, which takes reservations, has incredible specialty pizzas and huge and delicious specialty salads (try the puccetti!), along with wonderful gourmet entrees. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried a golden, deep-fried goat cheese coin!

For more information, go to www.mafiaozas.com or call 615-465-1505.

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