You can dance, you can jive and you can see it on stage this month.
The Dr. Phillips High School Theatre Magnet is ready have its audience laughing and singing along as it puts on two-weekend production of “Mamma Mia!” from Sept. 6 to 15.
The popular musical takes ABBA’s greatest hits and uses them to tell a humorous story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. On the eve of her wedding, the woman’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to a Greek paradise island they last visited 20 years ago.
It’s the season-opening production for Dr. Phillips, and it comes fresh off the rights for the show being recently released, Director of Theater Jason Whitehead said.
“We knew that the show hasn’t been really produced in the Orlando high-school market, so I was excited to be one of the first to do it,” Whitehead said.
The director and Dr. Phillips High grad that said initially he was a little reluctant about the show.
“It’s a girl-heavy show, so it’s every theater director’s dream, because you always have girls, but I didn’t think this generation would respond to it as much as they have because I don’t think they grew up on ABBA,” Whitehead said. “They are having a blast and loving every second of it and all its ridiculous, funny glory.”
“The show’s been so much fun to do and I love the people I get to do it with,” said junior Zoe Satterwhite, who plays Donna, the mother. “I’ve had a great time here; I’ve learned so much and now I get to be on the stage with the people I’ve become so close with. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
One of the main elements that sets “Mamma Mia!” apart is the costumes, Whitehead said. There’s a specific ABBA look, so tracking down the proper costumes was critical, he said. Another focus was teaching the students a series of songs, with which they may not be familiar but that are known and loved.
“No one hates the music — it’s so contagious, so uplifting, so silly,” Whitehead said. “They’re just having a ball.”
“I’m very excited — we worked really hard,” said senior Alexa Forte, who also plays Rosie. “We’re just so supportive of one another. You won’t go on stage without getting a mini pep talk. It’s really fun, especially since it’s my last year here. Every moment counts. … I’m just so excited to do this show.”
For fans of the movie, Whitehead said Dr. Phillips’ production of the show is a chance to hear the music live and have a great time, all while seeing the next generation of actors and actresses.
Whitehead said the goal was to start off the new theater season with a bang, stretching the abilities of the performers all while have a great time.
“We have a six-show season, so we’re hoping that this will entice new patrons to come back,” Whitehead said. “We strive to train these kids to be working artists, so we hold them to a higher standard and get to watch them grow and emerge into the performers of tomorrow.”