Weekender

‘Mamma Mia’ brings ABBA tunes to Music Box

SWOYERSVILLE — “When I wake up in the morning,” Amanda Alfano said, “the first thing I do is sing.”

Until a few weeks ago, it could have been any song.

But recently, the 18-year-old vocalist from Scranton has been devoted to the music of ABBA, music she’ll be singing onstage when she portrays Sophie, the younger of two leading ladies in the Music Box Playhouse production of “Mamma Mia,” which is set for Sept. 7 through Sept. 23 at the Swoyersville theater.

“It’s so easy to dance to and to sing and so easy to understand,” Alfano said, praising the tunes first made famous in the 1970s by a Swedish pop group whose four members — Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid — used their initials to form their name.

No matter when the “Mamma Mia” cast members came of age, it seems most of them grew up with ABBA.

“My grandparents played it for me all the time when I was growing up,” said Jesse Kofierowski, 14, of Dallas, admitting he still likes the song “Super Trooper.”

“It got played a lot at my high school dances,” said Angela Kelly, 36, of Dallas. “They always had ‘Dancing Queen’ going.”

“I grew up singing all the songs, with a hairbrush (held like a microphone), looking in the mirror,” Laurie Healey, 49, of Dallas, remembered with a chuckle. “I had an orange record player for my 45 rpms.”

It’s easy to see why people who grew up humming “Waterloo,” “Fernando” and “Take a Chance on Me” would enjoy the Music Box show.

But what if you’re not particularly an ABBA fan?

“Oh, I would come for the story,” Kelly said.

“It’s really interesting how a 20-year-old girl could snoop in her mother’s diary and find three possible answers to the question she’s been asking all her life,” Alfano said.

Alfano’s character, Sophie, has been wondering for years who her father is. After searching her mother’s journal, she finds three potential dads and invites them all to her upcoming wedding on the Greek island where she and her mother live.

“I think Donna might be feeling a little jealous,” Jen Kozerski, 30, of Plains, said of her character, who experiences all sorts of emotions as her daughter prepares for the wedding.

“The play is really about relationships,” Kozerski said, noting her character has three former lovers, a daughter and future son-in-law plus two long-time girlfriends all sharing her island and her life.

But it’s also about the music, director James Daley of Dunmore said.

“People will sing along,” he predicted. “They’ll fall out of their seats laughing, and they’ll cry.”

He wouldn’t be surprised if the audience gets up and dances, too.

Sam (Benjamin Dugas) is one of three long-lost loves Donna (Jen Kozerski) meets again in ‘Mamma Mia,’ which opens Sept. 7 at the Music Box Playhouse in Swoyersville.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_mamma.mia_.donna_.with_.guy_.jpgSam (Benjamin Dugas) is one of three long-lost loves Donna (Jen Kozerski) meets again in ‘Mamma Mia,’ which opens Sept. 7 at the Music Box Playhouse in Swoyersville. Submitted photos
Jen Kozerski of Plains Township portrays Donna, the mom who comes face-to-face with her past in ‘Mamma Mia.’
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_mamma.mia_.kozerski.jpgJen Kozerski of Plains Township portrays Donna, the mom who comes face-to-face with her past in ‘Mamma Mia.’ Submitted photos
Sophie (Amanda Alfano) and Sky (Tyler Saar) enjoy a quiet moment before their impending wedding.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_mamma.mia_.picnic.jpgSophie (Amanda Alfano) and Sky (Tyler Saar) enjoy a quiet moment before their impending wedding. Submitted photos

By Mary Therese Biebel

mbiebel@timesleader.com

IF YOU GO

What: ‘Mamma Mia’

When: Sept. 7 through Sept. 23 with shows at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays

Where: Music Box Dinner Playhouse, 196 Hughes St., Swoyersville

Tickets: Show-only tickets are $18. Tickets for show and buffet dinner are $35. Meals begin 90 minutes before curtain.

Box office: 570-283-2195

Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT