Those coming out to see the Kokomo Civic Theatre perform this weekend won’t need to be major theater buffs to find something they’ll enjoy during “Mamma Mia!”
“Mamma Mia!,” a popular musical, features more than 20 songs, many of them widely popular, “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” and, of course, “Mamma Mia.”
The local theater company will be perform the musical Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Indiana University Kokomo Havens Auditorium. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for senior citizens, $15 for IUK students, and $12 for children 12 and under.
Steven Hughes, director of the play, said the musical just became available for amateur production in 2018.
“There’s something like 24 song in the show and every one of them is a song that people know because they’re all ABBA songs,” he said. “Some shows you’ll know one or two songs coming in. Everyone knows ABBA songs.”
Hughes, who has been directing since 1986, said directing this production has been a fun challenge.
“There’s so much music for everyone to learn that it took time away from acting rehearsal,” he said.
Peggy Frye, who plays Rosie, one of the Dynamos, said working on this production has been intimidating at times.
“As a performer, it’s intimidating because ABBA music is extremely complex and the timing (of the music) alternates,” she said. “I wasn’t as familiar with the music as most of the cast is, so it took some time. But it’s been really fun. We’ve all had a blast doing it.”
While there is usually a feeling of camaraderie with a cast, Hughes said this particular cast is very close. There are 25 cast members, eight band members and 15 people working behind the scenes with lights, sound, set and costume.
“Theatre casts almost always become like a family, but this cast really likes each other,” he said. “My favorite part of directing is seeing the final product, the hard work comes to fruition, and seeing everyone involved enjoy the final product.”
While “Mamma Mia!” is a widely popular musical, and might drive a bigger audience than some shows, the Kokomo Civic Theatre always puts on a good show.
KCT has won the Indiana Community Theatre Association State Festival, a biannual event, for the past four competitions. In 2015, KCT won the American Association of Community Theatre national competition.
This season’s five shows span a range of genres, with something for a range of musical tastes.
“Not everybody likes musicals or dramas. I’m sure there are some people out there who don’t like comedies,” he said. “We do a mix of shows, so within our season, there’s something everybody would find entertaining.”
Russ Hawkins, playing Sam, one of the dads, said the final number is particularly fast paced.
“Platform shoes,” he said. “They’re white patent leather, high, and we have to dance in them really fast. It’s crazy.”
The really fast choreography was directed by Beth Metcalf, who had her hands full during this production. Metcalf was only planning on doing choreography, but she also is the leading lady, Donna.
“I love being on stage, but I haven’t been a lead since I was in my 20s,” she said. “The scariest things was all the lines and songs. I was like, ‘I don’t know if my old brain will do that anymore.’ But once we started blocking I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got this, five lines in this scene.’”
Metcalf first started in theater when she was 4 years old. She called civic theater “civic therapy.”
“We call it that all the time, civic therapy,” she said. “We all work, we all have lives, and we come here and work on this. But we come here, and this is our therapy.”