Stagecrafters is preparing to present a new production of the classic show “Mamma Mia!” The show – peppered with catchy pop tunes from ABBA – runs May 6-29 at the Baldwin Theater in Royal Oak.
“Mom Mia!” revolves around bride-to-be Sophie as she sends three wedding invitations to her mother’s former lovers, hoping to find out who her father is. Who will walk her down the aisle? That’s the big question.
For director Rodel Salazar, the production takes him back to his days as a child growing up in the Philippines.
“ABBA’s music was a big part of my life, but at that time I didn’t know the band was called ABBA,” Salazar said. “I would hear ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘Waterloo’ on the radio or on my parents’ records and I would instantly start dancing and singing. It wasn’t until we moved to the US that I learned the band’s real name. It was in the early 90s when the band released “ABBA Gold”.
Salazar first saw the show in 2001 and immediately fell in love with it.
“I was studying theater at the time and said I would like to direct it one day,” says Salazar. “Well, 21 years later, here we are! I always knew what I wanted the show to look like, and I’m thrilled to finally see it become a reality.
Salazar believes what makes “Mamma Mia!” so timeless is the show’s universal theme of finding your identity and roots.
“Sophie doesn’t know who she really is at the start of the show, because she thinks knowing who her father was would give her the answer she’s looking for,” he said. “There is also the beautiful story of the bond between a mother and her daughter that many people can relate to. The moment Donna helps Sophie prepare for the wedding is something special and precious that only a mother and daughter can understand.
Salazar describes the show’s setting as the appearance of being on an island vacation in Santorini, Greece. “I specifically chose Santorini because of its recognizable white buildings with blue domes,” he adds. “I went to Santorini in 2019 to take many inspiring photos and videos which I shared with my production team.”
Of course, the local cast and crew really bring the experience to life.
“Our theater community is thriving in the Detroit metro area, and Stagecrafters has been blessed with many wonderful talents,” said Salazar. “We all do this for our love of acting, so it makes it even more exciting and special when people want to participate or work on my show. Putting on a show like this requires a lot of people. My actors have been rehearsing for many hours since February and my designers have been working day and night to make the show beautiful.
What is also beautiful is that the show finally arrives in front of an audience. “Mom Mia!” was originally scheduled to open in 2020 but was postponed twice due to the pandemic.
“I know my original cast members are also thrilled to finally have an audience,” Salazar said. “I also hope to see people leaving the theater singing and dancing, which would be a great indicator that they enjoyed the show.”
“Mom Mia!” May 6-29 at Stagecrafters Baldwin Theatre, 415 S Lafayette Ave, Royal Oak, For tickets and additional show information, visit stagecrafters.org.