Westchester Broadway Theatre’s  MAMMA MIA!

Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 By: Elaine Helmrich Source: The Cue

The Westchester Broadway Theater has done it again…. What you ask? They have hit the nail on the head with their bright and lively production of the wonderful “MAMMA MIA”. This show was an audience favorite on Broadway for over fourteen years simply because it is total FUN from start to finish.

The toe-tapping ABBA tunes easily lend themselves to the carefree feeling of this light-hearted story. The music was composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (founding members of the Swedish group
ABBA). The music transports the audience to a sun-kissed Greek Island where a wedding is about to take place. The bride to be, Sophie, is played to perfection by Mariah MacFarlane. Her vocals on “I Have A Dream” are terrific and instantly the audience is drawn to her. Sophie, it seems has a real dilemma? Who will walk her down the aisle? Without giving too much away here … It turns out to be a multiple choice. It seems that her Bohemian mother, Donna, played with carefree abandon by the very talented Michelle Dawson was quite the “free spirit” in her early years. Dawson, no stranger to WBT audiences, has appeared in many productions here. She possesses a lovely singing voice and really pulls the audience in with the touching “Slipping Through My Fingers” and her tour de force is the rousing “The Winner Takes It All.”

One of the contenders for the title of “Father of the Bride” is Sam Carmichael, played by Xander Chauncey. He is a fine singer and his portrayal of Sam makes you root for him to be “Father of the Bride.”  Chauncy is once again paired with Michelle Dawson (they both appeared in Jekyll & Hyde at WBT). Donna’s friends’ Rosie and Tanya are adeptly played with great comic timing by Jennifer Swiderski and Elise Kinnon. Their vocals on “Chiquitita” are great and the voices blend beautifully and the ladies keep everyone laughing with their over the top personalities and their skillful harmonies during all the musical numbers. The possible “dads” are well cast and very entertaining. Kilty Reidy is terrific as the very British and fussy Harry Bright, and Brent Bateman as the Aussie adventurer makes the audience smile with every appearance he makes. 

Other standouts are Nathan Cockroft, who plays Sophie’s fiancé Sky. Handsome and very likable, he was nicely paired with Mariah MacFarlane. The Costume Designer (Jeff Hendry) provides a wonderful splash of color and fun to Set Designer Steve Loftus’ lovely Greek seaside resort which was all white and blue with flower boxes.  The costumes complimented the sets and were well planned and thoughtful. The orchestra is kept very busy during this show. Thankfully they are up for the challenge. Kudos to the six musicians including Musical Director Eric Alsford on keyboards with Assistant Musical Director Ryan Wise (also on keyboards), Ken Ross on drums, Jordan Jancz on bass, and David Shoup and Nick Dickerson on guitar.

Mama Mia is a show for all ages, fun and suitable for young people and oldsters alike. You don’t often see an audience on their feet clapping and singing along at curtain calls. I definitely recommend this high
energy show.

Running Time: Approximately two hours, with one 30-minute intermission.   MAMMA MIA! is on stage through June 25.  For tickets, call 914/ 592-2222