Meagan Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

UPDATE: Congrats to Bangor’s cast and crew of Mamma Mia! on winning 8 Freddy Awards!

Outstanding Use of Scenery

Outstanding Use of Lighting

Outstanding Small Ensemble Performance – Brookel Sabella, Gianna Graziano, Morgan Shriver, “Dancing Queen”

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Gianna Graziano as Tanya Outstanding Chorus

Vic Kumma Award for Outstanding Solo Vocal Performance – Brookel Sabella, “The Winner Takes It All”

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Brookel Sabella as Donna Sheridan Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical

Check out The Slater Newspaper review below! (Original Post March 30, 2019)

Taking the stage by storm, the Bangor Slater cast has outdone themselves once again with this year’s impeccable performance of Mamma Mia! Directed by the talented Mr. DiMinico and Mrs. Kranich, the cast and crew transformed the Craig Paine Theater into a stunning Greek taverna (hotel).

The plot takes place on a small Greek island, where Sophie (Hannah Almanzar) and her mother, Donna (Brookel Sabella), reside in Donna’s crumbling taverna. Longing to find her father to walk her down the aisle at her nearing wedding, Sophie reads her mother’s diary to search for any clues as to who he might be. Little does she know, she has three possible dads: Sam Carmichael (Seth Diorio), Bill Austin (Marino Bubba), and Harry “Headbanger” Bright (Charles Fassl). Will Sophie know who her true father is when all three appear right in front of her hours before her big day?

From the opening note, Almanzar grabs the audience with her sweet voice as she shows off her incredible talent during her solo, “I Have A Dream.” Joining her on stage for the fun, upbeat song “Honey, Honey,” Ali (Sophia Villano) and Lisa (Cathianne McKenna) rock with their angelic voices while showing off their dancing skills on the boardwalk.

Sabella soon debuts with the dramatic and relatable song “Money, Money, Money.” With her impressive vocal range and acting skills, Sabella truly nails her part as a caring, loving mother. When she finally sees her daughter’s three possible dads (truly a shocking moment for all of us), her heart soon flutters as she hits all the right notes in fan favorite “Mamma Mia.”

How could anyone handle having their daughter’s three possible dads showing up all at once? With their best friends, of course. Morgan Shriver (Rosie) and Gianna Graziano (Tanya) bolster Sabella’s character and bring next-level boisterous personality in the heartfelt song “Chiquitita.” The dynamic trio quickly follow this fantastic performance belting out beautiful notes in “Dancing Queen” (which is actually extremely irresistible–the audience had to restrain themselves from dancing up and down the aisles with the performers).

The fun continued with the romantic song, “Lay All Your Love On Me,” sung by Akash Sareen (Sky) and Almanzar on the sandy beach of Greece; behind them the ensemble takes the stage in scuba suits and flippers. The impressive choreography was absolutely mesmerizing to watch, and every dancer displayed true talent. How could Sophie not fall in love with Sky all over again while 20 of his closest friends dance around her in flippers?

By the time the “dads” finally make their appearance after 21 years away (poor Donna) Diorio, Bubba, and Fassl let the audience know it was worth the wait during their performance of “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.” Once all three dads realize why they’re actually all on this island together, they soon confront Sophie during the energetic song “Voulez-Vous.” Adding to this entertaining number, Shemar Petrie (Eddie) and Logan Holva (Pepper) danced and jived all over the stage to thunderous applause.

Eventually joining these fellows, the always-amazing Graziano impressed the audience with her energetic beach ensemble to the song “Does Your Mother Know.” In her bright pink swimsuit and dramatic sunglasses, Graziano brought the stage to life, leaving the audience fully charmed.

Making his high school stage debut, Diorio’s first solo, “S.O.S.” shocked the audience as he hit every high note. His voice resonated with the audience as he thundered through the challenging notes in “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and nailed his first ever performance. Diorio’s acting skills were up to par as he took on the persona of a worrisome father.

Tri-father counterpart Fassl, only a freshman, also blew the audience away with his astonishing performance of the tranquil song “Our Last Summer.” 

In a show full of top notch talent, Bubba and Shriver grabbed a spotlight with their incredibly entertaining rendition of “Take A Chance On Me.” Their comedic body language left the audience howling and hoping the two would go dancing (or maybe just walking…) Many viewers will not soon forget the powerful and surprising leap and smooch to seal the deal on their newfound love. 

Of course, making all this show work so smoothly, the sly and adept stage crew, cleverly outfitted as taverna workers, allowed for the set to almost imperceptibly transition scene to scene. From the taverna, to the beach, to the wedding, the stage crew members transformed the stage and didn’t miss a beat.

Through it all, under the direction of Mr. Hahn, the jaw-dropping prowess of the pit band was on full display as they hit every note and brought the legendary ABBA songs to life. Working together, guitarists Nicholas Stine and Maggie Hoffman, pianists Eric Hahn, Charlie Cole, Todd Deen, Steffani Smith, bassist Ava Peklinsky, and percussionists Griffin Krouse and Alarik McNay expressed their true passion and talent through each and every song. 

Finally, setting the ambiance and creating the mood for each scene would not have been possible without the backstage, lighting, sound, props, costume, hair, and makeup crews. The choreographers, dance captains, and set painters banded together, ensuring every character, setting, and song was absolutely perfect.

With any luck, we’ll be seeing this extraordinary crew performing once again at the Freddy Awards!

Congratulations to all who participated in making this musical the best one yet!