orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

February 21, 2011

L.A. girl with SETX connection stars in ‘Mamma Mia!’

ORANGE — Get ready to sing and dance because one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all time, “Mamma Mia!,” is coming to Orange this weekend.

Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ “Mamma Mia!,” the smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA, will perform three shows in two days at Lutcher Theater in Orange. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 25, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26. Tickets are on sale now at the Lutcher Theater box office for $65-$35 for adults and students or charge by phone at 409-886-5535 or go online at www.lutcher.org.

Seen by over 45 million people around the world, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ global smash hit musical “Mamma Mia!,” is celebrating over 3,800 performances in its 10th smash hit year at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre and remains among Broadway’s top selling musicals.

One of the story’s main characters, “Sophie Sheridan,” is portrayed by actress Chloe Tucker of Los Angeles. Tucker is performing in her first major production and couldn’t be happier.

“I got into singing and dancing when I was a little girl,” said the 21-year-old Tucker during a telephone interview. “But ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to be on stage. As I got older, I tried a whole bunch of stuff, but it got really overwhelming. It took me some time, but I figured out I wanted to sing and dance on stage and here I am.”

For those who happen to be unfamiliar with the story, “Mamma Mia!” is about an independent, single mother, Donna, who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island. Donna is about to let go of Sophie, the spirited daughter she’s raised alone.

For Sophie’s wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends—practical and no-nonsense Rosie and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya - from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own.

On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna’s past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Over 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom and old romances will be rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities.

Tucker said she relates to the character Sophie.

“I got the role when I was just 20 years old,” Tucker added. “So, I really understand who ‘Sophie’ is and where she is in her life. This character means a lot to people, and that means a lot to me.”

Although Tucker is from Los Angeles, she has a connection to Southeast Texas as her mother and grandparents are from Beaumont.

“I’m familiar with the area and I have visited the area several times when I would come see my grandparents,” she said. “So it should be fun coming back to town. I grew up in L.A., so I didn’t get to the Beaumont area too often, but it was always fun being there.”

Tucker believes the appeal and popularity of “Mamma Mia!” is that it has a way of reaching out to people of all ages.

“No matter your age, the story is very universal,” she explained. “It’s about a mother and a daughter and their relationship and so many people can relate to that. It’s a great story and the ABBA songs are just amazing. Who doesn’t like ABBA?”

Tucker said the cast has been together since August and will perform together for at least a year. Despite having several months together already, Tucker said life on the road is never dull.

“The newness of everything really hasn’t wore off. It really never stops being fun,” she said. “We’re used to doing five shows a weekend, so we sleep a lot when we’re not performing.”

One thing Tucker has noticed about life on the road is that no crowd is ever the same, especially when it comes to “Mamma Mia!” and the songs of ABBA.

“Some audiences are very reserved, but some are loud and rowdy the whole time,” Tucker continued. “That is where it gets to be a lot of fun for us, as performers.”

Tucker also mentioned fans should not be in any hurry to leave when they think the show is over.

“We have a couple of surprises at the end,” she said without offering details. “So people shouldn’t leave after the curtain call. We like to have fun at every show, and we want to make sure our audience has fun too.”

For information about “Mamma Mia!,” go to www.mammamianorthamerica.com.

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