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Williams Lake audiences prepare to take a musical trip to Greece

Mamma Mia! will open in the lakecity on Feb. 21 — for those with tickets
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Rehearsals for the musical production Mamma Mia! set to the music of Swedish supergroup ABBA are well underway, with the curtain set to rise on FEb. 21, 2024 in Williams Lake. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Hold onto your hats Williams Lake, because another musical is about to take the stage and you may just have the time of your life.

The musical production of Mamma Mia! by the Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society (WLST) is well into rehearsals, with the show set to open Feb. 21 on the Michael Rawluk Stage of the WLST. The songs of Swedish musical supergroup ABBA guide the story along to a soundtrack you can sing along to, whether you are an ABBA fan or not, you are most likely know many of the words.

After the success of WLST’s production of Cinderella in November and December of 2023, Mamma Mia! tickets were a hot item once they were released before Christmas.

So for those not lucky enough to have received tickets in their stockings or snagged some of the few left in January, you might want to start asking friends if they have a spare ticket, because the entire run is sold out.

Besides the return of audiences to the theatre, and the success of Cinderella, what is the appeal of Mamma Mia!?

Director Rebecca Strickland said she chose the script about 10 years ago and explained it was the timeless appeal of the music which helped draw her in.

“I love the music,” she admitted, with every generation seeming to know ABBA songs, a factor not a lot of musicals could boast.

Strickland had originally not thought the production could be done on the small WLST stage, but then after seeing it in Chemainus, where she said the stage was likely a bit smaller, she was inspired to bring the production to the lakecity.

The production had originally been slated to take the stage in Williams Lake, but COVID sidelined the season, and then Strickland eventually re-pitched it for this season.

The musical tells the story of a young woman about to be married on a Greek island. The bride-to-be invites three men to her wedding who she believes might be her father, whose identity her mother has never revealed.

Strickland said the other appeal of the jukebox musical for her is the setting and being able to take the Cariboo audience to Greece in the winter.

Casting the musical was not as hard as she feared either, with the cast members who came out having “phenomenal voices” said Strickland. Her one challenge was casting the male lead, but she said a great candidate was uncovered in the end.

The entire cast feels like a large family, said Strickland, with the 18 actors working as a team towards readiness for the opening night.

“I’ve really appreciated the support of the cast and crew throughout the whole process,” said Strickland.

She said the audience should come prepared for a fun night out for everyone.

For those with tickets, plan to be transported to a Greek island for an evening to an ABBA soundtrack as the play runs from Feb. 21 through to March 6. Doors open at 7 p.m. and show starts at 7:30 p.m. sharp.

READ MORE: Williams Lake Studio Theatre’s Cinderella set to sweep away audiences

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

After moving back to Williams Lake, where I was born and graduated from school, I joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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