Take a chance on ‘Mamma Mia!’

“Mamma Mia!” opens on Nov 1. at the Playhouse in the Park. (Breckyn McKinney/The News)

Breckyn McKinney

Contributing Writer


Tickets are selling quickly as the Playhouse in the Park plans to showcase its production of the musical “Mamma Mia!” on Nov. 1.

Students and local citizens alike are invited to come watch as a local theater puts on its second to last production of the year.

“Mamma Mia!,” which is based on songs by Swedish pop/dance group ABBA, debuted on London’s West End in 1999. The musical grew in popularity in 2008 with the release of the film version, featuring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried.

It follows Sophie Sheridan who is on a mission to find her biological father and secretly invites three men to attend her wedding.

Stacey Cayton is starring in the musical as Donna Sheridan, the mother of the bride. Cayton fell in love with the theater in junior high and does plays and improv whenever she gets the chance.

“For as much as I do this now, it’s energizing,” Cayton said. “I still feel a good nervous. I’d be scared if I didn’t get that nervous.”

Many actors and actresses in this production have a wide range of experience when it comes to performing.

Kelly Mackey, one of Donna’s two sidekicks, is new to the performing arts.

“Secretly, it was a childhood dream,” Mackey said. “I wasn’t comfortable enough to go for it and try it out. Last season, I decided to go for it. It gives me a new set of friends that I wouldn’t necessarily always run around with. You become part of a family for several weeks and then beyond.”

Joshua Byrne is playing the role of Harry, who is one of the three potential fathers in the musical.

“I’ve been doing this since eighth grade probably,” Byrne said. “I put a lot of effort into making sure that the production that I’m in is the best I can possibly do. It’s energizing, it’s motivating and it’s stressful. It’s a good stress to make the performance as good as it can be.”

This nonprofit organization has been putting out productions since the 1970s and has showcased over 100 shows.

Lisa Cope, Mamma Mia! director and executive director of the theater, has been working for Playhouse in the Park for over 15 years.

“It’s one of my favorite things to do,” Cope said about being a director. “Of course it energizes me, and I love it. It’s also exhausting because this is my job.”

With being in charge of so many cast and crew members comes a vast amount of stress and responsibility, but Cope plans to continue on in her position as the executive director as the theater expands.

“We’ve just bought a new building,” Cope said. “We are about to go into a very major capital campaign, so we are getting prepared for that. We are looking for grants and doing a lot of work on this campaign. It takes up a lot of the time I would normally spend doing other things like preparing for upcoming shows.”

While the Playhouse in the Park was created for entertaining those all across the community, the growing theater also benefits local students.

“We love to get students,” Cope said. “I think it’s a win-win. Especially for those theater and music students to get to come here and have a little more experience. Of course it benefits us, certainly, to have them here!”

Tickets for the shows range from $9 to $12. Students receive a discount when purchasing tickets. Tickets can be purchased from the Playhouse in the Park’s website at playhousemurray.org or from the box office at 701 Gil Hobson Drive in the back of Central Park.