‘Dynamos’ agree: ‘Mamma Mia’ fun for audience

Published 12:25 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

To say that Cathy Powell likes her role in Mamma Mia would be an understatement.

“It’s one of the few roles that’s for an older woman,” she said. “The songs are in a lower range, so you don’t have the extreme highs. It is a very comfortable role with a little craziness to it. It’s very fun.”

The story goes that Powell and her husband, Roger Powell, who is directing the production, had recently seen a production of Mamma Mia. On a whim, Mrs. Powell looked up the licensing fee.

A short time later, Andalusia Superintendent Ted Watson approached the Powells about leading a musical production that would include students and the community. From there, it all fell into place.

“I love the music,” Powell said. “The first time we saw it in Washington, D.C., when we left the production, we were just singing the music. It gets stuck in your mind.”

The music will be familiar to those who were around in the 70s, or are ABBA fans, with tunes like Dancing Queen, The Name of the Game, and Take a Chance on Me.

In the show, Powell plays Donna, a hotelier in the Greek islands who is preparing for her daughter’s wedding with the help of two old friends. It could be art imitating life, or life imitating art. Powell had worked with Valarie Shakespeare and Fran Davidson before, but the three had never worked together.

“When we’re together, it’s like Steel Magnolias,” Shakespeare said.

Powell and Shakespeare previously worked together for Divas and Desserts, a fundraiser for the LAAC. Davidson and Powell have worked together in Red Garter Review.

Davidson said the role has been a stretch for her because singing is a challenge.

“I sing in the choir, but mostly I make a joyful noise to the Lord,” she said. “I’m way out of my comfort zone, but it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy doing community theater. It’s not often in life you get an opportunity to be somebody else.”

Davidson said she, too, has enjoyed working with her co-stars. 

“We have such a good cast of people,” she said. “Everybody has such a great attitude.

“When you hear all that Cathy and Katie (King, who plays the daughter) have to remember, not just their lines, but their movements, dialogue, and song’s it really is amazing. They’re in almost every scene.”

Of Shakespeare, Davidson said, “She is oh, so talented. And when she sings, it’s a show stopper.”

One of the songs in Mamma Mia is “Super Trouper.” Powell said she’s nicknamed Shakespeare, an Andalusia native who drives from Pensacola to participate, the same.

“When practice is over, we sit in bed and play Words from Friends until we get a message that she’s gotten home,” Powell said. “She’s really put in time and effort to be able to do this, as has all of the cast.”

Shakespeare said she loves coming home.

“I love my little hometown,” she said. “It is the foundation of who I am.”

Powell said she is especially appreciative of her husband.

“This was not something that was on his radar,” she said. “But he knew I wanted to do this, so he’s doing this for me. That makes it even more special.”

The Powells have performed together often, but, she said, usually she’s the director.

“I never had the nerve to direct her,” Roger Powell quipped.

All three women said the musical has appeal for the masses.

“I think women can relate to the relationship between Donna’s character and her daughter,” Cathy Powell said. “It touches on what every mother goes through – that feeling of losing your daughter when they get older. There are some touching moments in that. And it’s all about friendship.”

Davidson said, “I think anybody would enjoy this. There are some funny, funny lines.”

“The audience will have a great time,” Shakespeare said. “It’s gonna be like one big party.”

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