BISFA brings the music of ABBA to life in ‘Mamma Mia’
“You can dance, you can jive” all the way to The Maryland Theatre for a spring musical based on the songs of ABBA from the 1970s.
“I think it’s an ultimate feel-good kind of show,” said Ruth Ridenour, director of theater arts at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.
“It’s a tale of love, laughter and friendship that is sure to get the audience laughing and singing along.”
In the musical “Mamma Mia,” a young lady on the eve of her wedding, Sophie, wishes to find out the identity of her father so she reads her mother’s diary and invites three men from her mother’s past to her wedding.
“They all show up and it sets off a hilarious journey all set to a fantastic soundtrack,” Ridenour said.
Barbara Ingram students present “Mamma Mia” in six shows from April 5 through April 14 at The Maryland Theatre.
On Friday, April 5, for opening night, the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation will host a reception in the Schindel-Rohrer Ballroom in Hagerstown with a Greek-inspired menu to raise funds for the school.
Madeleine Brown, 18, a senior who plays the lead role of Sophie, says the story has a message that has taught her a lot through the rehearsal process.
“There’s such a deep message in the show,” Brown said. “It’s all about girl power and the relationship between a mother and a daughter and it is really inspiring to see how their bond is nurtured throughout the show.”
The cast is accompanied by live music for the show from other Barbara Ingram students playing instruments such as electric pianos, guitars, bass and percussion.
In addition, singers from the show had the opportunity to travel to a local recording studio to sing and record backup vocals for the musical.
Kaylee West, 17, a senior who plays Donna, Sophie’s mother, is grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow in a fun and challenging role.
“I’ve learned so much about myself through this role,” West said. “Through this role I’ve really grown to love this character so very much because she’s such a great image of female empowerment.”
Both West and Brown are going to college for acting and singing, and hope to pursue careers in theater.
While graduating is bittersweet, the girls are excited to show what they’ve learned in this spring show and continue on and hone their skills in college.
“Our cast is amazing and they’re all my best friends so staying late at night is not a chore at all. It’s crazy realizing that we will be graduating soon. It’s a great environment. It’s going to be like leaving my family,” Brown said.
Ridenour is looking forward to seeing her students take to the stage and share this story with the community during the school’s 10th anniversary year. She has been teaching at Barbara Ingram since it opened.
“The kids are great, the show is going to look good and the ensemble is going to be amazing,” Ridenour said. “It’s a really good show and I don’t usually brag like that.”
Top photo: Barbara Ingram School for the Arts students rehearse the song “Money, Money, Money” for their upcoming musical “Mamma Mia,” which is based on the songs by ABBA. (Photo by Teresa Huntzberry)