The joy of ‘Mamma Mia’: NHS’s annual musical returns after 3-year hiatus

  • Northampton High students Isaac Steinberg, Morgan Trenholn, Michael Peterson, Meghan O'Connor, Jamie Harte and Audrey Johnson rehearse the last scene of “Mamma Mia,” directed by Myka Plunkett. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Audrey Johnson as Tanya rehearses “Momma Mia” with other Northampton High School students for the spring play opening Thursday, directed by Myka Plunkett. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 3/16/2022 6:07:42 PM
Modified: 3/16/2022 6:07:31 PM

NORTHAMPTON — After a three-year hiatus, Northampton High School’s annual spring musical is back with the production of “Mamma Mia,” an upbeat, toe-tapping show to be seen as a “glimmer of hope” this spring as COVID restrictions ease and a sense of normalcy returns.

“‘Mamma Mia’ is about joy, fun, singing, dancing and celebrating, which is exactly what our students, families and community want and need right now,” said Beau Flahive, the NHS fine and performing arts director and the producer and music director for “Mamma Mia.”

The show opens Thursday and runs through Saturday at the high school auditorium.

Featuring music from the popular Swedish pop group ABBA, “Mamma Mia” tells the story of Donna, a hotel owner in the Greek Isles, as she, alongside her three best friends, prepares for her daughter Sophie’s wedding.

Never having met her father, or even knowing who he is, Sophie takes it upon herself to ensure his attendance at her big day. Knowing of three possible men who could be her father, Sophie invites them all, hoping to unveil the truth.

“ABBA’s music is incredibly appealing for today’s youth because of its simple and upbeat message,” Flahive said. “The songs are happy, not complicated, with a fun and carefree feel.”

With the production, directed by actress Myka Plunkett, the high school theater company is offering a unique adaptation of the popular musical. Described as a music forward production, the show is 90 minutes with no intermission.

“It’s more of an ABBA concert,” Flahive said.

The ensemble production features more than 80 students, which includes the starring cast, a live pit orchestra, production crews and others.

The cast features Meghan O’Connor as Donna, Josie Kirley as Sophie, Audrey Johnson as Tanya, Meghan Trenholm as Rosie, Eden Kates as Ali, Remy Gutterman as Lisa, Michael Peterson as Sam, Jamie Harte as Harry, and Isaac Steinberg as Bill.

Kirley, a senior, is excited to put on her final production as graduation approaches.

“I personally relate to Sophie because of her naive innocence of being in love and not knowing herself yet, similar to parts of my younger self,” she said. “She learns and grows more through the show, and in the end leaves a changed young woman ready to take on the world, a parallel to my growth throughout high school and looking on to college life next year.”

As the five-month rehearsal process comes to a wrap, Kirley expressed her excitement for opening night.

“I am beyond excited to showcase all our hard work over these past five months and hope the audience will have just as much fun watching it as we’ve had!” Kirley said.

The high school’s last musical was “Grease” in the spring of 2019. Two years ago, the group’s “The Sound of Music” show was canceled a week before opening night.

Performances of “Mamma Mia” are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 17-18, at 7 p.m. Shows on Saturday, March 19, will take place at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for NHS students, and will be available for purchase at the door.


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