AREA COMMUNITY NEWS: IHCC presenting 'Mama Mia!'

OTTUMWA — Indian Hills Community College’s production of “Mamma Mia!” opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, with additional performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in St. John Auditorium.

Performances are free, but patrons are encouraged to reserve seats by calling 641-683-5144.

According to director Jennifer Boyenga, “Our students have had a blast from the past exploring the music of ABBA and disco-era choreography.”

“It’s been fun creating a Greek island taverna as the backdrop of ‘Mamma Mia!’” says technical director Ray Slavens. “And our students have taken on a large role in creating the setting for this contemporary romantic comedy.”

This popular and charming musical focuses on the wedding of Sophie, played by Hannah Haring (Cambria), at her mother’s resort on a Greek island. Her stressed-out mother Donna, a one-time leader of an all-woman singing group, played by Peyton Nelson (Ottumwa), has no time for surprise visitors. So she is in no mood to deal with three former boyfriends, Harry, played by Chance Bender (Pleasantville), Bill, played by Joseph Culp (Pleasantville), and Sam, played by Bryan Brain (Hedrick), who show up unexpectedly. While Sophie shares a secret with her friends Ali, played by Khloe Snakenberg (Sigourney), and Lisa, played by Katrina Sample (Albia), Donna confides in her old sisters-in-song, Tanya, played by Becca Tosh (Hedrick), and Rosie, played by Bianca Cardona (Keota). Will the wedding come off without a hitch? Or will the groom Skye, played by Seth Bethune (Hedrick), get cold feet? Can Donna’s right hand men, Pepper, played by Taith May (Albia), and Elijah Muntz (Agency), help her keep things under control? And will Father Alexandrios, played by Ramsey Smith (Oskaloosa), put up with their shenanigans?

Rounding out the ensemble for ‘Mamma Mia!’ are Mckenzie Hammes (What Cheer), Erlinda Aldaba (Ottumwa), Kira Smith (Hedrick), Nimfa Stanton (Eldon), Pablo Alvarado (Ottumwa), Geovanny Marrero Correa (Puerto Rico), and Jorge Saavedra (Wapello).

Vocal musical director is Janene Sheldon, who also worked with Boyenga on choreography. Taith May has been student choreographer for several numbers of the cast.

The “Mamma Mia!” band is under the direction of IHCC professor of jazz and instrumental music, David Sharp, who is also playing woodwinds in the production. The band includes Janene Sheldon on keyboards, Tom Shadonix (Ottumwa) and Haley Parrish (Ottumwa) on keyboards, Matt Clay (Ottumwa) on guitar, Pedro Páez (Caracas, Venezuela) on percussion, and Shannon Garrels (Bloomfield) on bass.

IHCC alumnus Becs Bartle, a professional lighting designer from Chicago, will return to Ottumwa to design the lighting for “Mamma Mia!”

Stage manager for the show is Kelli Chapman (Milo), assisted by Carrie Combites (Blandinsville, Illinois), who is also the show’s costume manager. Other members of the tech crew include Lily Arney (Ottumwa) as soundboard operator, Luis Valverde (Ottumwa) on spotlight, and Gracyn Chichelly (Cedar Rapids) on the backstage crew.