Published 12:50 am Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Many working on Mamma Mia show

When the cast of Mamma Mia takes the stage at in the Dixon Center for the Performing Arts Saturday and Sunday, their performance will showcase the work of three people whose work began almost as soon as plans for the show were announced.

AHS music teacher Hannah Cross, and choreographers Kara Foreman and Ander Helms began work on the music and dance parts of the production last fall.

Cross said the enthusiasm of directors Roger and Cathy Powell was contagious from the first meeting.

“I’ve worked with the kids who are in the chorus during our regular choir time, or E block,” she said. “For the soloists, or anybody who wanted more work, we’ve worked for three hours on Saturday mornings.”

For Cross, who in addition to teaching school teaches private piano lessons and is the worship leader at Hopewell Baptist Church, Momma Mia has been like having a fourth job. But she said it’s been absolutely fun.

Like Cross, Foreman and Helms have juggled responsibilities to be a part of the local production.

Helms is enrolled in an online graduate program, and often found herself stepping out of rehearsal to log in and “attend” class. Foreman has two small children at home, and said her husband, Rob, has been a great help.

The young women had actually danced together in an Andalusia Ballet performance of The Nutcracker, but had never choreographed together before this show.

Helms, who grew up with the Powells’ children, said when asked she immediately wanted to be a part because she knew the directors would make the experience a fun one.

“I immediately began YouTubing other Mamma Mia plays so that I could get ideas of how others had made it all come together,” Helms said.

Early on, the two choreographers met with the directors.

“We decided the easiest thing for all of our busy schedules was to split choreography into Act 1 and Act 2,” Helms said. “I took Act 1, and Kara did Act 2.”

Foreman said, “I absolutely love meshing choreography together. It keeps me on my toes! And I feel like it flows really well. Ander was great to work with, and has done an awesome job.”

The music director and choreographers agree the show will be a fun one for the audience.

“First, it’s music that’s familiar,” Cross said. “A lot of people are really, really gonna like the music. These are not brand new songs. Also the jokes are just funny, and everybody loves to laugh.”

Foreman agreed.

Mamma Mia is different then most musicals. The push for audience reaction and participation is there! You will cackle! We have through many rehearsals,” she said.

Helms added, “This show will have you clapping, singing, and hopefully dancing in your seat. We all want the audience to be involved and celebrate the arts, our community, and Sophie’s wedding with the cast. It is meant to be a show that people can come in, leave their worries and burdens at the door, and just celebrate life and all the good that are going on around us. Not to mention that Donna and the Dynamos (Cathy Powell, Valarie Shakespeare and Fran Davidson) are quite hysterical.”

Show times are 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets area available at Harold’s and at the Andalusia High School office. They are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.