The cast of Mamma MIa will start rehearsing at the Hāwera Memorial Theater next week. Behind: Regan Tate (Sky), Richard Baylis (Bill), Hayden Baylis (Sam), Paula Frearson (Donna), Shaun Campbell (Harry). Front: Sarah Bird (Sophie), Emily Davidson (Tanya), Deb Thomas (Rosie) and Clive Cullen (director).
Hāwera Repertory’s journey to stage Mamma Mia could almost be a musical with Covid as the villain, but the good guys won this one.
Rehearsals for the show, which opens June 11, have progressed very well, despite some people having to self-isolate due to Covid, director Clive Cullen said.
“It really comes together and the vocals are absolutely fantastic.
“I am absolutely thrilled. It’s pretty much the perfect story to get out of Covid. People have been locked up for two years, and to have a show like this is just fantastic.
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When rehearsals took place in November, masks, “bubbles” and social distancing were part of the process, and it was possible that Covid restrictions would limit the audience to 100 people.
Since then, restrictions have been relaxed and two additional matinee performances have been added.
The set will be installed at the Memorial Theater this weekend and the cast will begin rehearsing there starting next week, he said.
More than 20 Abba songs form the music of Mom Mia, half of which are large dance scenes.
The story takes place on a Greek island, where single mother Donna and two of her close friends are preparing for the wedding of her daughter Sophie.
Unbeknownst to her, Sophie has secretly invited three men from her mother’s past in hopes of meeting her real father and having him escorted down the aisle on the big day.
Hāwera’s production leaders are a mix of newer and experienced players.
Paula Frearson, Manaia, will play Donna.
She performed in a previous Hāwera repertoire show, Through the Decades, and is no stranger to performing, having sung for both her church and kapa haka.
Supporting Paula as Donna’s best friends are Emily Davidson (Tanya) and Deb Thomas (Rosie).
Sophie is played by Sarah Bird, who is performing her first major musical.
Regan Tate plays Sky, her fiancé. Regan is from New Plymouth and has appeared on The Full Monty and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The dads-to-be are Richard Baylis (Bill), his brother Hayden Baylis (Sam) and Shaun Campbell is Harry.
Playing Sophie’s friends are Samantha Hatcher (Lisa) and Tayla Steele (Ali) and supporting Sky are Cody Ogle (Pepper) and Aries Poutu as Eddie.
*Tickets are available on i-ticket and on the Hāwera i-Site. The show opens on June 11 and will run until June 25.