Cameron students debut Mamma Mia

After months of preparation the efforts of Cameron High School drama students and teachers will come to a head with the opening night of their production of ‘Mamma Mia!’. 

Tuesday night wrapped up the final dress rehearsal for the ABBA-based musical extravaganza, which Co-Director Andi Brown said challenged students in all facets of play production.

“There are sets to move and they’re large, two-story sets. They have to be moved out while the bedroom set is moved on, without breaking anything, while the actors are changing,” Brown said. “All of the techies are assigned to an actor and help them because there are a lot of costume changes. We want set changes to move very quickly so the audience doesn’t get bored. We’ve had set change practices and they have to do all of that in the dark and very quietly. It’s been quite a feat, but they’ve done a great ... We get close because we spend a lot of time together. They are great kids.”

The CHS production will take place as the musical celebrates the 20th anniversary since its debut inside London’s Prince Edward Theatre in 1999. Through a variety of motifs, using the music of disco-mega band ABBA, it tells the story of Sophia and her quest to find the identity of her father so he can walk her down the aisle for her upcoming wedding. Tuesday the CHS ‘Mamma Mia’ cast and crew spent their final dress rehearsal reviewing the music and choreography to each dance number. 

“The directors told us a couple of days ago they feel like now we don’t look like we’re acting on stage. We just look like people,” said Jaden Miller, who plays the soon-to-be-wed Sophia. “When Aubrey (Brown) goes to bed she’s not Aubrey anymore she’s Donna. When David (Beasley) gets on stage he’s not David anymore. He’s Sam. We’re becoming our characters.”

Although one of the leads, Beasley said with a cast as large as the 2019 production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ every cast member has a vital role. Due to the complexity of the choreography and the production design, one mistaken step during a dance number or a slightly askew prop can have a detrimental ripple effect and pull the audience from their suspension of disbelief.

“Just because you’re a lead doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone else,” Beasley said. “It’s an important thing for everyone to remember. Sometimes the extras can harp on themselves and think I’m not important. Why am I here? As the season goes on, they begin to understand they are important. That’s when the show comes to life.”

‘Mamma Mia!’ opens 7 p.m. Thursday with additional performances 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 at the door and advance tickets are $7. To purchase advance tickets, visit www.cameronperformingarts.weekly.com.

“If you want to show you care about theater, about performing arts, then this is the place to be,” Beasley said. “We can’t this without selling tickets. We’re self-funded and that’s how you show you care.”

 

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