That’s a wrap: “Mamma Mia!” concludes production


Evey Robinson (12, YPAS), Kylie McGuffey (12, YPAS), and Annie Jennings (12, YPAS) sing Super Trooper at Sophie’s bachelorette party. Photo by Cesca Campisano

Guest Contributor

This story was submitted by Mya Cummins (10, J&C)

The Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) put on its annual musical, “Mamma Mia!” this past week. The musical had two sets of the cast, one which starred Kylie McGuffey (12, YPAS) playing the role of Donna and the other starring Raley Taylor (12, YPAS). 

The cast consisted of over 40 students, making it one of the largest musicals that YPAS has put on. 

The cast of “Mamma Mia!” had been preparing for this production since the end of last year when the cast list was released.

“They all pretty much knew the music by the time they got back from the summer. They were motivated because they liked the music so much,” Julie Evan, one of the directs of the musical, said. 

Starting in August, the cast had rehearsal every day from 2:30 to 5 or 6, depending on what they needed to accomplish that day. For the first two weeks of rehearsal, the cast was learning music and choreography. From there, the cast then built the show with the music and choreography they had learned.

“I’ve loved spending time with this cast, rehearsing dances and running scenes! The chemistry between this cast is truly unlike any other I’ve been a part of, ” Lily Carpenter (12, YPAS) said.

“Being a part of this show has affected my high school experience in the most positive way. I feel like the cast has grown to become a family, and I’ve made many friendships and learned many skills from this show that I can use in other academic aspects of high school as well,”  Megan Payne (10, YPAS) said.

While Julie Evans, the director of the musical, was teaching the cast, she ran into a couple of obstacles; one being that “Mamma Mia!” was a jukebox musical. A jukebox musical is when the writer takes already existing songs of an artist and makes a plot line out of them, so in this case, the writers took songs from ABBA and created “Mamma Mia!” A jukebox play can be difficult for a cast to learn.

“For the actor, it’s a little challenging because you don’t necessarily know your through-line, you have to kind of build it in; there were a few songs in particular where it was hard to imagine how that song fits into the story, so they really had to work hard as actors to make that happen,” Evans said.

Another obstacle that the cast encountered during the rehearsal was fitting in the ensemble. The ensemble was in almost every song, however, they were not written into the scene of the playbook, so they had no place to appear on stage. This challenge caused the “Mamma Mia!” directors to find creative ways to incorporate the ensemble into the play. For the intimate scenes, they had to put singers in the orchestra pit and on the sides of the stage, so they were not seen.

Payne also in countered obstacles when being a part of the cast.

“It did test my ability to manage my time since rehearsals were every day after school, but it proved to be a success! I could not be happier with how the show turned out,” Payne said.

Paige Neal (10, MST) went to go see the play with her sophomore English class last week, “I liked how the play was both interesting and funny with a variety of different characters and personalities,” Neal said, “Something that stood out to me was the talent of the ensemble. Even though they weren’t the main part of the story, they really made the play spectacular.” 

Her favorite scene in “Mamma Mia!” was during Sophie’s Bachelorette party. “When all the potential dads thought that they were Sophie’s dad because there was so much action all over the stage that it was impossible to focus on one thing,” Neal said.

Sanjana Chena (10, MST) saw “Mamma Mia!” for the first time last week. Her favorite song was at the end of the play when all of the cast came out and sang “Dancing Queen.”

 “It was just super fun, and it was one of the songs they sang at the end with the entire cast and the energy, outfits and music just made it super enjoyable and fun,” Chena said.

At the end of the play when they sang “Dancing Queen,” the cast asked the audience to get up and dance. “It kind of turns into a concert by the end and that feels different than most musicals,” Evans said.