Broadway North brings feel-good ABBA musical to Prince Albert

Mamma Mia cast members rehearse at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 13. The show officially opens on Thursday, and runs from Aug. 15-17 and Aug. 22-24. -- Jayda Noyes/ Daily Herald

Tracey Feher didn’t need much convincing to accept a role in Mamma Mia.

After more than a decade away from the stage, Feher was ready to take any part in Broadway North’s upcoming musical. The fact that it’s Mamma Mia was an added bonus.

“Who doesn’t want to play Mamma Mia,” chuckled Feher, who’s playing the role of Donna, the mother of main character Sophie. “I was excited to audition and excited to accept any role that I was offered. It’s ABBA. We’re going to sing and dance to ABBA all summer. It was just an exciting and fun thing to do.”

Feher isn’t the only one excited for the musical, which officially opens at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Thursday. Director Roxanne Dicke said the show has been incredible popular since it premiered in London two decades ago. When the rights to perform it came available, she was eager to bring it to Prince Albert.

“People know it. They’ve seen the film, and it’s got a lot of good feelings,” Dicke said. “It’s a great, fun musical for the summer. It was a win-win.”

“This is going to make people want to dance in the aisles and dance all the way out of the building,” Feher added. “This is just pure straight up joy and entertainment. We hope that people come here and have a blast.”

Although Mamma Mia makes good use of songs by Swedish pop sensations ABBA, playwright Catherine Johnson wrote the story. It follows the exploits of bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan, who’s trying to discover the identity of her father as her wedding gets closer. She’s invited three of her mother’s former dates to her wedding to make that easier.

Cast members of Broadway North’s Mamma Mia! rehearse at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on August 13, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

For big ABBA fans, like Feher, music from the Swedish pop group alone makes it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. However, she’s also excited to perform with her fellow cast members, who have given up a lot of summer evenings to work on the performance.

“This is a wonderful group of people,” she said. “We have come together to make this musical as exciting and interesting and as fantastic as we can, and having a mutual goal has really made us friends.”

“I am so proud of the commitment and dedication that this group of people,” Dicke added. “They’ve given up a huge chunk of their summer to be with us, to learn choreography, music, scene work, and all that stuff.”

Like Feher, Dicke touted the show as a fun and positive experience. She hopes the production will show local theatregoers just how much talent Prince Albert has.

“I’d put this up against musicals elsewhere, absolutely,” she said. “I also hope (audiences) take away a sense of joy in the middle of summer…. There are a lot of things right now that are politically all very serious. This is really just about coming in and enjoying yourself.”

Mamma Mia officially opens on Thursday, Aug. 15, with additional performances on Aug 16-17 and Aug. 22-24. All performances start at 7:30 p.m., except for an extra 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Aug. 24. There is also an evening show that day. For tickets, visit www.earc.ca/broadway-north-theatre-company.

Local philanthropist Malcom Jenkins has agreed to match all tickets purchased and donate the money to the Rose Garden Hospice.