‘Mamma Mia’ heads to Durham for five shows

Chelsea Williams, front, and Georgia Kate Haege perform a scene from the touring production of "Mamma Mia!" The show is coming to DPAC May 30-June 1, 2014. / Kevin Thomas Garcia

By Rachel Teseneer
Times-News correspondent

   DURHAM — The immortal songs and melodies of 1970s pop sensation ABBA will come to life on stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center beginning Friday, May 30, 2014.
Written by Catherine Johnson and based on ABBA’s hit songs, “Mamma Mia!” is a show not to be missed. It follows the life of 20-year-old Sophie, played by Chelsea Williams.
Growing up with a single mom and clueless about the identity of her father, Sophie plots to gather all three of her mother’s suitors at one place before her wedding day. However, it turns out to be not quite as easy as Sophie thinks to pick out which one is her father.
“Sophie’s the engine of the show,” Williams said of her character. “She grew up with a free-spirited mom, so she has a little bit of that in her, but she also craves a stable and traditional lifestyle. She’s brave and spontaneous, and she comes up with this wild plan without considering the aftermath. Her actions affect every person in the show. It’s like a domino effect.”
   Williams said she had a “late start” when it came to acting. She grew up loving the artistic side of life, enjoying drawing the most. When she was in high school, she got a taste of live theater. Now in “Mamma Mia!,” she credits her grandmother as her motivation: “(My grandmother) always nurtured my creative habits. She knew art was special.”
For Williams, the appeal of live theater is not solely being in the spotlight and touring, but in the ability to connect with the audience.
“It’s different from doing film or recording an album. You’re inviting people into your world,” she said.
With solid female leads, the show has a “strong emphasis on the power of women.” Alongside this, the show also promotes letting go of control. “(Sophie) comes to terms with the fact that you can’t control your master plan to life … enjoy the ride.” Williams herself has learned to “cut loose and have a good time, despite any setbacks.”
In a light and positive atmosphere, “Mamma Mia!” combines happiness and longing to form an easily identifiable performance. Audiences should expect “a fabulous time.” With timeless songs that anyone can recognize, “Mamma Mia!” is a guaranteed delight.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets are $30 and up and can be purchased at www.dpacnc.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

 Rachel Teseneer is a sophomore home-schooler and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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