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‘Mamma Mia!’ grooves into Savannah Theatre

  • Emily Iocovozzi portrays Sophie in “Mamma Mia!” at the Savannah Theatre. (Courtesy Savannah Theatre)
 

‘Mamma Mia!’ grooves into Savannah Theatre

06 Feb 2018

There is probably a 90 percent chance that if you are reading this, you own a copy of “ABBA GOLD.”

ABBA, Sweden’s national treasure, is one of the best-selling pop acts of all time. The best way to enjoy their music these days is to see the international hit musical “Mamma Mia!” — which, fortunately, is being performed by the regular cast of the Savannah Theatre for the next three weekends.

“Mamma Mia!” is built entirely around ABBA songs and tells the story of Sophie, a young woman who is about to marry her fiancé, Sky, on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Sophie dreams of having her father give her away, but his identity is a mystery. When Sophie reads diary entries about her mother’s past lovers, she secretly invites all three men to the wedding to sort out who might be her real father.

“We’ve wanted to do this show for a while and the rights just came up about six months ago,” says Michael Zaller, co-owner of Savannah Theatre and one of the stars of “Mamma Mia!”

“It fits in with what we usually do because we do revue style shows … also, a lot of the main people in our show right now are the right age to play the adults — the possible dads, her mom and her friends — so it works out great.”

Emily Iocovozzi, who plays Sophie, studied vocal performance at Savannah Arts Academy and graduated from Cap 21 Music Conservatory in New York City just a few weeks ago. Although Iocovozzi now resides and works in New York, performing with Savannah Theatre is a welcome homecoming.

“It’s an amazing experience,” says Iocovozzi. “Gretchen [Stelzer], who is one of the staple performers there, was my voice teacher growing up, so I was always going to the theater and seeing shows, and seeing her. I kind of ended up growing up among them, which was an amazing experience.

“From the age of when I understood what the musical was about, I wanted to play Sophie,” Iocovozzi continues. “It’s a dream to be a part of this show and I’ve never had an opportunity before now. Giving me a chance to come home and do such a musical that is close to home for me in the first place really means a lot.”

Iocovozzi, thanks to lifelong exposure by her mother, may have ABBA in her blood. Her mother — who prefers to sing ABBA’s song in Swedish — is one of their biggest fans.

“Oh my gosh, that is an understatement,” exclaims Iocovozzi. “I mean, she is Swedish, born and raised in Stockholm. Her whole family is from Sweden… We embraced all the Swedish culture and live a very Scandinavian life, even here in Savannah, Georgia. I think we’ve been to the ABBA museum in Sweden two or three times.”

Zaller and Iocovozzi promise a great time for all, with lots of laughs, great dancing, and of course, irresistibly catchy music.

“These ‘jukebox’ musicals are a lot of fun for the audience because they know so many of the songs,” says Zaller.

“It’s the kind of musical you leave dancing out the theater,” adds Iocovozzi. “You get to dance with audience members afterward and who doesn’t want to see adults in skintight, neon costumes and platform boots. It just leaves you with a smile on your face. And that’s the kind of show I want to be a part of.”

IF YOU GO

What: “Mamma Mia!”

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 9-10, 14-17, 24; 3 p.m. Feb. 11, 18, 24-25 (Update: Additional show added at 8 p.m. Feb. 21)

Where: Savannah Theatre, 222 Bull St.

Cost: $37, $18 for children younger than 17

Info: savannahtheatre.com

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