By Esther Sun
LGHS’s dancing queens and kings have been gearing up to present spring musical Mamma Mia!, which was set to debut at the Prentiss Brown theatre this Friday evening at 7 PM but will not open due to recent government policies aimed at slowing the community spread of COVID-19.
Featuring hit songs by ABBA and set in a Greek island paradise, the romantic comedy Mamma Mia! tells the story of a young woman who secretly invites three men from her mother’s past to her wedding in hope of meeting her real father. LGHS’s production showcased the talents of senior Talisa Horne, who played young protagonist and bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan, senior Jamie Blough, who played Sophie’s mother Donna, and many more.
A well-polished orchestra, comprised of LGHS student musicians and professional adult musicians and conducted by LGHS music teacher Andrew Hill, accompanied cast members live from the pit. These talented musicians provided the background music for soundtrack songs including the catchy twist on romance “Waterloo,” the classic bop “Dancing Queen,” and, of course, the musical’s title track, “Mamma Mia!”
The Mamma Mia! cast has been rehearsing for its March shows since January, with regular rehearsals lasting from 3 PM to 6 or 7 PM Monday through Saturday. During Tech Week, rehearsals ran as late as 10 p.m. LGHS drama teacher Janna Rigby served as the show’s director and choir teacher Maricel Riley lended her talents as the vocal director. Crew members also spent hours working on props and set pieces that would have added an extra charming touch to the musical’s Greek island setting.
“It’s been amazing,” Horne gushed in a statement prior to the announcement of the show cancellation. “I love acting so much and doing it in front of an audience is going to be spectacular.”
“My favorite part of preparing Mamma Mia! isn’t a specific aspect of the show so much as the people I’m doing it with,” added senior Avery Segall, who played the violin in the pit orchestra. “Granted, I find rehearsals to be really fun, but I know they wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable as they are if I wasn’t doing it with such an amazing group of people.”
The drama department had initially scheduled the five total performances of the show to span two weekends – Mar. 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28 – and expected the performances to attract hundreds of audience members from the Los Gatos community.
However, due to recommendations by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the LGHS school administration cancelled all Mamma Mia! live performances along with the cancellation of school, which they announced on Fri., Mar. 13. The cast and crew, though unable to acquire the licensing rights to live stream a performance, recorded two last minute run-throughs of the show that night and will be keeping the videos as archival copies. They hope to reschedule the performances when school gets back in April.