Performances set for both this weekend and next

Mamma Mia! is coming to the Reif Performing Arts Center
Donna, played by Katie Smith (center), is reunited with her former Dynamos bandmates, Tanya (Marina Whight) and Rosie (Katie Benes), in the Grand Rapids Players’ presentation of Mamma Mia at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids. Submitted photos.

Donna, played by Katie Smith (center), is reunited with her former Dynamos bandmates, Tanya (Marina Whight) and Rosie (Katie Benes), in the Grand Rapids Players’ presentation of Mamma Mia at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids. Submitted photos.

GRAND RAPIDS – The Grand Rapids Players present Mamma Mia!—with the music of ABBA—which will be performed at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids on Friday and Saturday, March 15 – 16 and 22 – 23 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 17 and 24, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and can be purchased at the Reif box office or online at reifcenter.org.

On the Greek island of Kalokairi, 20-year-old bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan (Rachel Coppock) reveals to her bridesmaids, Ali (Samantha Benson) and Lisa (Janelle Benson), that she’s secretly invited her dad to walk her down the aisle. When asked how she knows who he is, Sophie reveals her mom’s “secret” diary where she thinks she’s found the identity of her dad…three times! Is he Irish-American architect Sam Carmichael (Jason Anderson), world-traveler, adventurer and writer Bill Anderson (Jim Cagle), or British banker Harry Bright (Mike Magner). Scared, yet confident to see her dream come true, Sophie is thoroughly convinced that “I’ll know him when I see him.”

Rachel Coppock plays bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan in the production of Mamma Mia! Katie Smith plays Sophie’s mother Donna.

Rachel Coppock plays bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan in the production of Mamma Mia! Katie Smith plays Sophie’s mother Donna.

Sophie’s mother Donna (Katie Smith), who runs a not-very-successful villa/ hotel, is ecstatic to reunite with her former Dynamos bandmates: wisecracking author Rosie Mulligan (Katie Benes) and wealthy multiple divorcée Tanya Chesham-Leigh (Marina Whight). Determined to keep her secret from being discovered, she intercepts her three unannounced guests and smuggles them to their room. They have questions. She has answers. But not quite truthful ones. She does tell them that it was her and not her mother who sent the invitations, begging them to go along with her plan to surprise her mother with the arrival of her old friends of whom she so often favorably speaks.

Once discovered, Donna demands that her former lovers all leave her island. She confides to her friends, Tanya and Rosie, that she truly does not know which of them is Sophie’s dad. Meanwhile, Sophie tries to tell her fiancé Sky (Jake Anderson) about her ploy, but his two best buds, Pepper (David Jess) and Eddie (David Hack) steal him away for his bachelor party.

And all night long, things unravel, twist and turn! Sophie faints. Donna confesses. Sky walks. Tanya and Rosie are on damage control. And all three “dads” want to walk Sophie down the aisle!

Mamma Mia! delivers songs, dance, music, laughter, tears and the story that takes us through life’s good friendships and struggles relevant today. This awardwinning Broadway musical is a high-tech challenge using electronic keyboards, percussion and guitars— featuring 22 of ABBA’s popular tunes. The Itasca Community Chorus provides the back-up vocals to the explosive, high energy, singing and dancing on stage, performed by an impressive cast of local artists.

In 2009 Mamma Mia! grossed $144.1 million in the United States and $471.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $615.7 million, against a production budget of $52 million. It became the highest grossing, live-action musical of all time, until it was surpassed by Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast in 2017.

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