Drama students hit the stage with ‘Mama Mia!’ April 19-21

by Laura Bednar

Nordonia Drama takes audiences on a trip down the aisle as they present the international smash hit “Mamma Mia!” April 19-21.

The story unfolds at a Greek island taverna, when on the eve of her wedding, a young woman’s quest to discover her father’s identity brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited two decades earlier.

The musical features dance numbers, along with ABBA’s hit songs that include “Super Trouper,” “Dancing Queen,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “The Winner Takes It All’’ and “SOS.”

Nordonia High School Drama Director Chris Simmons said the movie version of “Mamma Mia!” was based on the musical play. “There are more ABBA songs in the musical that did not make it into the movie, but overall the story is the same,” he said.

He also noted that compared to Nordonia Drama’s last few productions, which were Disney and princess-themed, “Mamma Mia!” is more PG13. “The show is going to be a lot of fun with big dance numbers and fun costumes and songs, but there is a little bit of language and a little bit of more mature content considering what the basis of the plot is,” said Simmons.

The cast of 35 is led by Amaya Mayes as Donna, Camille Laviano as Sophie and Ezekiel Rayle as Sam. Rounding out the cast are Mason Tyler, Evan Doles, Caeden Bolling, Julia Greenberg and Claire Marchant. There are another 40 students working as crew members, running tech and helping with makeup, hair and costumes.

Rayle, a sophomore, has performed in the past three Nordonia Drama productions: “Puffs,” “The Little Mermaid” and “A Murder is Announced.”

“This experience has been a really enjoyable one,” said Rayle. “I always love going to rehearsal because I love this program, but I also adore the people I get to hang out with and that I might not be able to hang out with in school. I also just love acting and getting the chance to try out different roles and characters and see where it takes me.”

Nordonia Drama is again participating in the Dazzle Awards at Playhouse Square, which recognize Northeast Ohio high school theater achievements.

Performances of “Mamma Mia!” will be Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m. Tickets will be sold online through HomeTown Ticketing. Tickets are $12 and $18 and go on sale at the end of March. Visit nordoniadrama.com for more information. ∞

Lead actors Ezekiel Rayle and Amaya Mayes practice an
emotional number from “Mamma Mia!” Photos courtesy of
Chris Simmons.

Photo (main/above): Students (l-r) Julia Greenberg, Amaya Mayes and Claire Marchant rehearse a song from the musical.