Perry High School prepares to present ‘Mamma Mia!’ on April 9-10

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief

Perry High School’s production of “Mamma Mia!” has been a year in the making.

Rehearsals started in January of 2020 and continued until spring break. Instead of coming back after spring break and performing the show two weeks later, school was closed for the rest of the semester because of COVID-19. The musical was shelved as well until January of 2021.

“Randy and I collaborated and decided to go ahead and stick with the show for this year for a number of reasons,” Jenn Nelson said of her fellow director, Randy Peterson. “Our students were really invested in it. We were close to production so that did play a part, but they were just really, really invested in the show.”

Auditions were held and they recast roles vacated by seniors who graduated. Students who already had small roles could audition and move into larger roles. The ensemble was also opened back up for anyone interested in joining the musical this year.

“We started back up again in January and it was not like picking up where you left off,” Nelson said of the 10-month break between practices. “There were things that went a lot quicker because we were familiar with the story and the flow a little bit, some of the songs. But of course we had people who were brand new to their character roles so then we had to fit those together and there was a bit of an adjustment period.”

Bryce Eastman, Ainsley Marburber and Molly Moorhead sing "Dancing Queen" during a recent "Mamma Mia!" rehearsal.

Some of the cast was completely new to the musical, while others were learning new roles. Some of the choreography was also changed because of a different number of actors on stage.

And yet, Nelson said, “It’s been really, really fun. We’re having so much fun with it.”

Senior Ainsley Marburger was excited to reprise her role as Donna Sheridan.

“It’s been a dream role of mine for a really long time. She’s just very fun-spirited and she tells it like it is, she’s very honest about how she’s feeling, she doesn’t hold back at all,” Marburger said of her character. “It’s just so much fun to play, just getting to dance around the stage and act like an idiot and get those nice, slow ballads.”

Junior Sebastian Hernandez said an extra year has helped him sharpen his character.

Perry students rehearse a scene from "Mamma Mia!"

“I’ve fallen in love with my character more and more. Last year I was excited to play Sam, but this year I’m even more excited to play Sam,” he said. “I just feel over the time I’ve become a much better singer so I feel I’m able to embody and sing the character even better.”

“Mamma Mia!” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 9 as well as 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 10 in the Perry Performing Arts Center.

Tickets, which are $5 for students and $8 for adults, are on sale now at the Perry High School office and will also be available at the door. Reserved seats will be sold in every other row. Families and groups may sit together and two seats will be blocked off on either side of each group. Masks will be required for everyone in attendance.

“I think people will really enjoy the show and I’m excited to put it on for everyone. It’s a really interesting story that I think people will enjoy even if they’ve never watched the movie before,” said Molly Moorhead. 

She added that the songs from ABBA are also a big draw.

Molly Moorhead, as Tanya, performs "Does Your Mother Know?" during a recent rehearsal of Perry High School's production of "Mamma Mia!"

“Knowing the songs, I feel like that is going to be the best part. Especially during our last big dance number, it’s just a big compilation of their best hits so it’s going to be the songs that everyone knows,” Marburger said.

“You just feel like half the audience is going to get up and sing and dance with you,” freshman Maddy Hollingsworth added.

For Hernandez, the best part is the atmosphere on stage.

“Our set is just absolutely amazing. When the lights are on and we’re doing those big dance numbers, all the energy on stage, it’s just crazy,” he said.

Nelson said the students are just excited to finally have the chance to perform.

“These students have waited so long for this to happen and they’ve worked so hard, it would just be great to see the community come out and support them,” she said.

Perry High School students rehearse a scene from "Mamma Mia!"

Cast List

Donna Sheridan - Ainsley Marburger

Sophie Sheridan - Bella Nath

Tanya - Molly Moorhead

Rosie - Bryce Eastman

Sam Carmichael - Sebastian Hernandez

Harry Bright - Jayson Chavez

Bill Austin - Jefry Gonzalez

Sky - Maddy Hollingsworth

Ali - Candace Hoisington

Lisa - Kyla McKenzie

Pepper - Jesus Gonzalez

Eddie - Evan Knowles

Father Alexandrios - Jose Chavez

Primary Resident - Alexa Nelson

Ensemble

Ximena Calderon

Olivia Christensen

Ayden Erickson

Orlando Gonzalez

Yajaira Hernandez

Ethan Jackson

Sarai Jaimes

Ally Mills

Cloe Nance

Brooke Nelson

Emma Stika

Aubree Tasler

Levi Thoren

Ben Tolle

Technical Crew

Ava Augustus

Eliza Cunningham

Lucas Davis

Emily Dowd

Demetrius Ferretti

Shaelynn Fiddler

Khamya Hall

Kaylee Hay

Zoe Hibbert

Owen Kalina