Cast members from Community Little Theatre’s upcoming performance of Mamma Mia rehearse a scene. From left to right are Eileen Messina, as Donna Sheridan, Noah Keneborus on the shoulders of Chris Hodgkin, playing Sky, and Danny Gay, as Eddie, right. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — As a general rule, singing along to a musical theater performance is considered bad form. However, the upcoming Community Little Theatre performance of the hit musical “Mamma Mia!” almost dares audiences to do just that. SOS!

A jukebox musical with a book written by Catherine Johnson, “Mamma Mia!” is based on the songs composed by former ABBA band members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. The show ran for over 14 years on Broadway, making it the ninth longest running show in Broadway history. The music includes such hits as “Dancing Queen,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “The Winner Takes It All,” and, of course, the title track.

“I’ve been an ABBA fan since 1971 — and I have 17 CDs as well as the ABBA fan book to prove it,” says Director John Blanchette. “When ‘Mamma Mia!’ was first released in 1999, I rushed down to Broadway to see it — and I was hooked. I had to wait 20 years for it to become available for a community theater production — and now I am finally doing it,” he added.

The show’s story unfolds on a Greek isle where we meet resort owner Donna Sheridan, a strong independent woman who alone has raised her daughter Sophie. Sophie becomes engaged and wants her father to be at the wedding — but she doesn’t know who her dad is. After she discovers it could be one of three men, she invites them to the wedding, but under her mom’s name. After they arrive, Sophie realizes she has no idea which one is indeed her father. Meanwhile, Donna’s two best friends arrive on the island, Donna discovers the presence of her three ex-lovers, and then, well . . . lots more fun — and music — ensue!

Cast members from Community Little Theatre’s upcoming performance of Mamma Mia rehearse a scene. From left to right are Jennifer Groover as Tanya, Eileen Messina as Donna Sheridan and Michelle Schmitt as Rosie. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Blanchette has assembled a strong cast that includes CLT favorite Eileen Messina as Donna Sheridan; Eileen’s real-life daughter Sophie Messina plays her stage daughter Sophie Sheridan; Donna’s friends, Tanya and Rosie, are played by Jennifer McClure Groover and Michelle Schmitt; Chris Hodgkin is Sophie’s fiancé Sky; and the three “fathers” are portrayed by Gerry Therrien as American architect Sam Carmichael, Nathan White as English banker Harry Bright, and Chad Jacobson as Australian adventurer Bill Austin.

Cast members from Community Little Theatre’s upcoming performance of Mamma Mia rehearse a scene. From left to right are Janelle Raven, as Lisa, Sophie Messina, as Sophie Sheridan and Megan Tyler-Record, right, as Ali. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The supporting cast includes Megan Record and Janelle Raven as Sophie’s best friends, Ali and Lisa. Sky’s best friends, Eddie and Pepper, are played by Danny Gay and Noah Keneborus. Jim McKinley appears as Father Alexandrios.

Playing Sophie’s friends and providing strong backup singing are Phoebe Armillotti, Lacey Moyse, Brittany Paradis, Mackenzie Richard, Brooke Shelley and Justine Wiesinger. In the men’s chorus (Sky’s friends) are Jeffrey Fairfield, Gregory Judd, Andrew Lachapelle, Jude Leaver, Kyle Mansur and Benjamin Simpson.

In addition, a vocal ensemble assists backstage on the harmonies and backup singing needed. The ensemble members are Ken Mansur, Debby Mansur, Sara Caron, Sophie Carson, Janice Cazneau, Isabella Cooper, Louise Groover, Abigail Hart, Ana Moreno, Charlotte Morin, Sara Morrison, Paris Pierce, Kathryn Ross and Madeleine Vaillancourt.

“We have an excellent cast, and the fact that we have a real mother/daughter team to play Donna and Sophie makes this production particularly special. Our experienced crew has skillfully created the illusion of a Greek Island in summer, beautifully accented by lights and sound effects. This production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ will feature over 100 costumes, including some spectacular spandex jumpsuits in the curtain call,” notes Blanchette.

Lynn O’Donnell serves as assistant director and producer, Steve Barter is music director, Lacey Moyse is choreographer, with K.C. Andreu, as assistant choreographer. Paul Menezes is the stage manager and Ashley Gallagher Hodgkin is costumer, assisted by Gregory Judd. Other crew members include Charlotte Morin, properties; Bill Hamilton, set design; Lynn O’Donnell, set décor, assisted by Michelle Washburn; Penny Drum, playbill; Josie French, publicity; Sue Finch and Matthew Conklin, lighting design; Michelle Washburn, lighting board; and Marissa Lussier, sound board.

“While some shows get your feet tapping, ‘Mamma Mia!’ gets people standing and singing,” Blanchette added. “it is a unique theatrical experience that we are thrilled to bring to our audience!”

Sophie Messina, as Sophie Sheridan, rehearses a scene with other cast members of Community Little Theatre’s presentation of “Mamma Mia.” Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

So, here we go again — get ready to be swept away by great music, an uplifting story, and dazzling dance numbers that have made “Mamma Mia!” a worldwide phenomenon.

“Mamma Mia!” opens Friday, Aug. 9, and runs Aug. 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. and the two Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. For tickets, use the new online ticketing platform at www.LACLT.com or call the box office at 207-783-0958. Community Little Theatre is on Academy Street in Auburn.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.