By Leela Uppaluri
With a gorgeous beach-setting, energetic dancing, and catchy ABBA songs, it is not surprising that on opening night, Mamma Mia! brought a full house at the Winsor theater. Indeed, when going to watch the Winsor and Roxbury Latin winter musical, I had high expectations; this musical exceeded them by far.
Mamma Mia! is the story of a young woman who invites three men, each of whom she suspects might be her father, to her beach wedding to force her mother to reveal their identities. The leads, Olivia Sarkis ’23 and Ava Kee ’23 played mother and daughter, Donna and Sophie Sheridan with nuanced skill, both in acting and singing. In the opening number, Kee sang “I Have a Dream” — the perfect introduction to her performance as one of the bubbly and bold leads. Kee remarked, “pre-show jitters went away as soon as I sang my opening line,” which was evident in her flawless delivery. The character of Donna, introduced through Sarkis’ performance of “Money, Money, Money,” portrayed both the comedy and the sorrow of longing for a future partner.
Throughout the musical, the actors portrayed scenes that entwined drama with “unmatched energy,” according to Kee. Sophie’s potential fathers (Tommy Reichard, Mathias Way, and Michael Allen) provided the optimal balance of comedic relief and emotion. In fact, one of them, Sam Carmichael (Tommy Reichard), managed to harness the emotions of the audience who looked on as both he and Donna longed to be together. Even through challenges with mics, as Kee said, “everyone kept persevering as if nothing was wrong.”
The musical, though a little over two hours long, felt as though it ended too quickly. Maggie McDonald ’26 says she cried during “Slipping Through My Fingers,” one of the last songs in the musical, and many shared her sentiment. Hamna Chowdhry ’26 also pointed out that she laughed during the ending, where the leads emerged in brightly colored body suits complete with bell-bottoms. After this truly extraordinary performance, which transformed a snowy Boston night into a beach vacation for one evening, I cannot wait to see what the Winsor and RL theater department will pull off next.