The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Behind the scenes of WCHS’ fall musical: “Mama Mia!”

Photo courtesy of Hannah Choi
The WCHS “Mama Mia” cast is all smiles when rehearsing their last number, “Mama Mia,” before they take their final bows.

Mamma Mia! Here we go again! After weeks of long and intense rehearsals, the WCHS Mamma Mia cast is ready to showcase their take on yet another well-known musical. They understand that the “winner takes it all,” so they hope the audience can lay all their love on them to support all their hard work.

Mamma Mia first premiered as a musical in London’s West End in 1999, and due to its instant popularity, it was adapted into a movie in 2008. The plot revolves around the main character, Sophie, who dreams of having her dad walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. However, she and her mother, Donna, are both unsure who Sophie’s father is. Sophie eventually finds three potential father figures—Sam, Bill and Harry—and builds a strong connection with each one of them, making it harder for her to determine the true father. The drama only escalates throughout the musical as the timeless songs of the former pop disco band ABBA accompany it. 

“Compared to previous WCHS musicals, Mamma Mia definitely has more songs involved,” WCHS senior Hannah Choi, who plays Donna, said. “With the bigger emphasis on the music, we create a fun-filled and nostalgic environment since everyone is familiar with ABBA songs.”

One of ABBA’s most renowned songs is “Dancing Queen,” which was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Hall of Fame in 2015. In the musical, the song is played to lighten Donna’s spirit when she sees her three exes arrive at Sophie’s wedding. It empowers her and other listeners today that they can still embody their “young and sweet” and “only seventeen” selves.

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“I love how strong and confident Donna is all the time,” Choi said. “Despite all the hardships she has been through, she is resilient and continues to care about the people she loves, which I find relatable to.”

Characters can often act as a reflection of oneself or provide insight into another individual’s experiences. As the story progresses, the characters become less fictional and more of a familiar face to an individual. Therefore, the WCHS actors and actresses develop strong bonds with the characters they play, making the final performance the hardest one to get through, as it is like saying a final goodbye to a close friend.  

“It’s bittersweet that this will be my last high school musical theater performance since I have been doing it for years now, so I know I would not be the same without musical theater,” WCHS senior Elias Bernstein, who plays Sam, said. “I am grateful for all the skills, friends, and memories I have gained throughout this journey and am looking forward to putting forth my best performance yet to end it on a high note.”

It is never easy for an individual to leave something that has been a significant part of their life for years. WCHS Mamma Mia seniors are saddened that this will be their last time setting foot on the stage but acknowledge that they still have a show to put on. Even though there are moments during rehearsals where they may feel emotional and teary, they continue to work hard. 

“The hardest part of preparing for the Mamma Mia musical so far has been learning all the music and harmonies as well as the dance choreography,” Bernstein said. “The rehearsal process as a whole has been much more intense this year with more people being part of the production overall.”

Producing a musical is not an overnight process. WCHS students auditioned for their roles the second week of school and have been sacrificing their lunch breaks and after-school hours ever since to prepare for their performance. They are genuinely passionate about their work and strive for it to be evident through their performance. 

“Our take on this musical does a good job at showcasing WCHS’ strengths in musicality,” Choi said. “It’s so wonderful to see the whole cast, tech, and band be united to produce such a high-energy show that echoes the Blast production in April.”

In the previous year, WCHS’ Matilda the Musical production was nominated for a Brandon Victor Dixon Award for Best Musical, so there are high expectations for Mamma Mia. As the poster depicts, people of all ages are welcome to dance, jive and have the time of their lives.  

“This is the first time in seven years that we will have a live pit orchestra composed of talented student musicians, in addition to professionals as well,” director Mr. Albright said. “So come out and support friends not only on or behind the stage but under the stage!”


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About the Contributor
Catherine Chan
Catherine Chan, Assistant Online Editor
Catherine Chan is currently a junior at WCHS and the Assistant Online Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. She is excited to work with new people this year and continue her passion for writing. Outside of school, she is a competitive swimmer and lyrical dancer.

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