Two upbeat musicals usher in “the lusty month of May,” and while they aren’t “Camelot,” they do offer uplifting stories, with Grosse Ile High School presenting “Mamma Mia” and Disney’s “Aladdin” flying into the Fisher.
GROSSE ILE H.S. PRESENTS ‘MAMMA MIA’
The energy and romantic charm of “Mamma Mia” will heat up the stage of Grosse Ile High School May 11 to 13 in the school auditorium, 7800 Grays Drive.
The story, which features the music of ABBA, focuses on a young woman planning her wedding, who, unbeknownst to her mother, invites the three men from her mother’s past who might be her father, with the hope that one of them will walk her down the aisle.
The show is directed by Cheyla Wagner, with Dylan Bužimkić as assistant director, Sam Ramirez as vocal director and Julia Roscoe as the choreographer. Senior Ella Normandin is the student director and dance captain.
Wagner said she’s wanted to direct the show since she first saw it on stage.
“I had so much fun the first time I saw ‘Mama Mia’ live,” she said. “It’s been on my list to direct for a long time, and this year we had the right cast to pull it off.”
Cecily Noonan, who plays Donna, mother to Sophie, said the musical numbers are not just songs within the shows.
“The musical numbers feel like magical, tangible moments,” she said. “They are big, loud and fun.”
Noonan said a lot of time and energy has gone into the choreography as well.
“It’s strong, snappy and surprising,” she said.
Urvi Vaya, who plays Sophie, the daughter, said audiences will enjoy the ABBA music and the fun vibe of the show.
“‘Mamma Mia’ is a very high energy and emotional show, and the love between a mother and daughter is irreplaceable,” she said.
Alyssa Pullen, who plays Sophie’s fiancé, said her biggest challenge has been playing a male role, made even more challenging by being a love interest.
“It’s been amazing becoming my character and being a lead, but it has been challenging,” she said. “The characteristics and qualities of a man have been hard to learn, but I love being challenged.”
Sorine Andronic, who plays Sam Carmichael, one of the three potential fathers, said it is the first time he has played a serious role.
“I’ve only had experience performing silly roles up to this point, so it’s been fun to challenge myself and try something new,” he said.
Andronic said he hopes audiences enjoy the music from ABBA.
“It would be satisfying knowing that audience members spent their drive home singing the songs,” he said.
Dominic Bianchi, who plays Harry Bright, another of the potential fathers, said he has had been perfecting a British accent for his character.
He said the show illustrates how difficult it can be for someone like Donna to be a single parent.
“All the love and effort they put into it, even if the parent suffers, is for the happiness of their child,” he said.
Joshua Baxter, who plays Bill Austen, the final potential father, said he hopes audiences can relate to the message of a family’s love and struggles, as well as enjoy the upbeat music.
“‘Mamma Mia’ is fun, cheesy and snappy, featuring ABBA music that we all know and can groove to,” he said. “It’s going to be great – I hope the audience smiles.”
Also in the cast are Gia Schoenherr as Tanya, Paige Gilbert as Rosie, Ella Normandin as Lisa, Darby Jerrell as Ali, Andrew Dmitruchina as Pepper and Patrick Marsh as Father Alexandrios.
Also in the show are Kyuubi Buber, Abbie Carbajo, Chloe Coleman, Jenna Connelly, Olivia Emmanuele, Jacque Gorris, Evelyn Howes, Anna Larkin, Gavin McLaughlin, Manasvi Patel, Cameron Ratliff, Sophia Yager and Madilyn Zajas.
Performances are at 7 p.m. May 11 to 13, with tickets available at the door. General admission is $10, with a $5 ticket price for students and seniors.
DISNEY’S ‘ALADDIN’ FLIES INTO THE FISHER
A magic carpet ride of a show lands at the Fisher May 9 to 14 as Disney’s “Aladdin” brings its wonder to the stage.
The stage musical “Aladdin” is based on the Academy Award-winning animated film. The musical opened on Broadway nine years ago, where it is one of the top 20 longest running shows.
The story, based on “One Thousand and One Nights,” tells of a street urchin who falls in love with a princess, who, with the help of a magical genie and three wishes, protects the princess and her people from the evil Jafar while winning her heart.
The songs include, “Arabian Nights,” “One Jump Ahead,” “Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali” and “A Whole New World.”
It was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2014, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score and Best Choreography, and won a Best Featured Actor in a Musical Tony for James Monroe Inglehart for his performance as the Genie.
The show is recommended for ages 6 and older. The Fisher Theater will admit children age 4 and older.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. May 9 to 13 and 6:30 p.m. May 14, with 2 p.m. May 13 and 1 p.m. May 14 matinees. Tickets start at $35 and are available at the Fisher Theater box office and online at BroadwayInDetroit.com and Ticketmaster.com.