“You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life.”
You may hear those lyrics in your head long after watching “Mamma Mia!”
Guam GATE Theatre presented “Mamma Mia!” on April 28 at the Father Dueñas Phoenix Center in Mangilao. Anticipation filled the air as the audience waited for cast members to pour their hearts and souls into their last performance.
“Mamma Mia!” introduces the main character, Sophie, a 20-year-old bride-to-be, inviting her dad to her wedding. The problem? She doesn’t know who he is!
With the wedding only a day away, Sophie’s mother, Donna, has a lot on her plate. To make matters worse, three ex-lovers from 21 years ago show up out of the blue.
The musical includes songs from ABBA, a famous Swedish pop group. It features popular songs such as “Dancing Queen” and the titular “Mamma Mia!” Ranging from comedic to soulful, these songs make viewers want to sing their hearts out.
The final show starred Amanda Pangelinan as Sophie. Pangelinan brought the young, bright-eyed protagonist to life. With a voice reminiscent of a Disney princess, Pangelinan owned each song she performed. Aaron Gumataotao was opposite Pangelinan as her fiance, Sky. Pangelinan and Gumataotao’s chemistry made each of their scenes enjoyable, as well as sold them as a believable couple.
Broadway veteran Jen Brooks graced the stage as Donna and stole each scene she was in. Her stage presence was strong, and her vocals were powerful.
Donna’s two best friends, Tanya and Rosie, were played by Richel Velasco Mejares and Veronica Flores, respectively. Mejares exhibited Tanya’s sassy attitude in a very playful, fun way and worked well with Flores’ version of Rosie’s comical character.
Brooks, Mejares and Flores as Donna and the Dynamos sang their songs in an impressive three-part harmony. Their interpretations of each of their respective characters made for an entertaining show filled with humor and lots of love among their characters.
Sophie’s three possible fathers were played by Rainer Tanalgo, Bennett Spence, and Devin Pigman. Tanalgo acted as the adventurer-writer Bill; Spence performed as Sam, the architect and the one that got away. Pigman was Harry, the once wild and spontaneous head banger who became a banker. All of the actors brought life to their characters in a satisfying way, and the actors played off each other well.
The ensemble that made up a majority of the cast for “Mamma Mia!” represented some of Guam’s talent. The ensemble interacted with the audience in songs such as “Under Attack” and “Dancing Queen” and gave an immersive experience during each performance. Overall, the cast members seemed to have a genuinely great time when they sang and danced together.
With beautiful set design and bright lighting, the production was an eye-catcher. Every aspect of the musical – from the stage to the orchestra – reflected drive and passion.
With a talented cast, the last performance of “Mamma Mia!” showed the gifted and talented people our island has to offer.
Guam GATE Theatre proved again that it is one of the best theater companies on the island. Productions such as “Mamma Mia!” show why people should be on the lookout for any upcoming musicals from the company.