AT Theatre put on the production of Mamma Mia on Feb 2-4 for their annual winter musical. The show held record-breaking numbers, beating out Newsies and Grease, shows held in the 2 years prior to Mamma Mia.
The choice for Mamma Mia was made by Theatre Director Anna McSweeney, but it was repeatedly requested by students.
“Honestly, students had voiced their desire to do Mamma Mia last year. I knew it would be a super fun show, and with all the disappointments of the past 2 years, we wanted to do a fun show,” said McSweeney.
The musical’s casting began in November, headed by McSweeney and the Theatre Board. The lead roles, Donna Sheridan, Sophie Sheridan, Sam Carmichael, and Sky were portrayed by Ella Anello, Alexa Markovicz, Adam Sakleh, and Jack DiDominic respectively.
Cast member Fernando Padua shares how the audition process took place virtually,
“Honestly, they had to go through the audition process which comprised of dancing, singing, and acting. During callbacks, I told kids what I was looking for and what I wanted to see out of their auditions. Each student who was cast was able to show the best version of the character,” said McSweeney.
The show’s production took the labor and efforts of over 100 students–cast, crew, the production team, and multiple sponsors.
“I helped run the crew backstage and tried to fix any problems that came up during the show,” said Assistant Stage Manager Grace Mendoza.
While this collaboration resulted in a successful performance, it simultaneously birthed close connections between a large group of AT students.
Senior Enzo Ciaccia recalls the family he has found in AT Theatre from not only Mamma Mia, but during his four years as a Thespian. “I’m really grateful for this group of people that has become another family to me,” said Ciaccia.
Dance Captain Monsse Berrum describes a similar sentiment despite her less experience as a Theatre member. “It was my first musical, and I was glad to help create the dances. I made a lot of friends and became close with people I never would have thought I would become close with. It’s such a good feeling the way the crew and cast work together as a family,” she said.
This year, in response to the Covid pandemic’s guidelines, the cast wore transparent masks, an idea generated by Dance Coach Levonne Cescolini-Boyer.“Actually, the greatest challenge is getting them to do it all together. I’m kind of a perfectionist and I want them to look awesome! We go over the dances over and over until I feel like they look good! That usually does not happen until the night of the show! I just love working with these students…for the most part, many have never danced before!”
Aside from the masks, McSweeney notes the normalcy that has returned to AT’s musical with the shifting guidelines.
“What was nice about this year was that we didn’t have to socially distance as much, and aside from masking, it felt like a traditional musical season,” McSweeney said.
Seniors reflect on their last musical with AT, all of whom are grateful for their years in theatre but sorrowful at its finish.
“Theatre is everything to me. I’m so proud of everyone–cast, crew, the production team. When my class leaves, I know AT Theatre is in good hands. It was difficult to come to the realization that this is my last musical, and it was hard leaving it all out on stage,” said cast member Adam Sakleh.
AT Theatre will hold the Spring Show in the upcoming months.