Students watch Mamma Mia! on the lawn in front of Boe Chapel, socially distanced. Madelyn Wood/The Olaf Messenger

The fall theater season kicked off on Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13, with a COVID-19-adjusted outdoor performance of “Mamma Mia!” directed by Department Chair of Theater Karen Wilson. The theater department originally planned to premiere the musical on campus last April but had to postpone it due to the pandemic. 

Students filled the lawn in front of Boe Chapel — each in a physically distanced spray-painted circle on the grass — over an hour before the performance began. Attendees brought blankets and masks in order to maintain social distancing guidelines while watching the performance. Promptly at 2 p.m., ABBA music started blasting through the speakers, and the performance began. 

“Mamma Mia!” follows a young woman, Sophie, as she prepares for her wedding at her mother’s hotel in Greece. After reading her mother’s diary, Sophie invites three men to the wedding, each one of whom may be her father, and lighthearted yet heartfelt shenanigans ensue once the three potential fathers arrive. 

Tamsin Olson ’21 shined as Sophie, one of the leads. Olson’s voice complimented Sophie’s bubbly character, and she proved her prowess as a talented actor. Mary Maker ’23 played Sophie’s mother, Donna. Her energy, comedic timing and vocal range were extraordinary. Despite a few unfortunate microphone malfunctions, Olson and Maker had excellent chemistry as a mother-daughter duo. 

Tyler Krohn ’21, Andrew Decker ’23 and Aidan Sivers-Boyce ’22 played each of the three possible fathers. Krohn’s delightful British accent and perfectly awkward mannerisms made him quite lovable on stage. Decker had several wonderful vocal solos and his perfectly trimmed mustache made him look perfect for the role of Sam Carmichael. Sivers-Boyce drew several laughs from the audience with his physicality and wonderfully inappropriate interactions with Abigail St. John ’21, who played Rosie, a friend of Donna. 

St. John also had some fabulous moments with Mira Davis ’23, who took over the role of Tanya after the original actor graduated last spring. Davis’ flirtatious character and superb voice control made her the perfect match for Tanya, and her ability to jump into the role on short notice is commendable. 

“Mamma Mia!” would not be the same without the talents of the ensemble. The cast added comedy, background singing and some hilarious choreography that transformed the Boe Chapel plaza into a stage. Additionally, the show incorporated some friendly nods to the pandemic guidelines. Actors wore face shields and adjusted all of the choreography so that they never touched one another. 

Overall, “Mamma Mia!” was an excellent way for students to temporarily escape the stress of classes and take advantage of a cool Saturday to watch a performance. The sound team worked with the windy atmosphere as best as they could, and “Mamma Mia!” truly showcased the tenacity of the students and staff involved. 

The cast performs Mamma Mia! on the front steps of Boe Chapel. Madelyn Wood/The Olaf Messenger