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South Valley Journal

RHS’s performance of ‘Mamma Mia’ will have audiences singing in their seats

Nov 11, 2021 10:23AM ● By Jet Burnham

The leads in Riverton High’s “Mamma Mia” take in blocking and acting advice from professional actress and choreographer Summerisa Bell Stevens. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Riverton High School presents “Mamma Mia” written by Catherine Johnson, music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, Nov. 18, 19, 20 and 22 at 7 p.m. with a 'Sing-a-long' version on Saturday.

Tickets are $9 adults, $8 students/senior citizens, and are available for purchase at rivertonhigh.jordandistrict.org.

“‘Mamma Mia’ is an ABBA concert with a storyline built behind it,” said Dylan Elliot, a senior. He plays Harry, one of three possible dads (the two others are played by Camron Kunz and Alex Oyler) that 20-year-old Sophie (Elizabeth Longhurst) has invited to her wedding, unbeknownst to her mother, Donna (Kylie Hallet.) With her two best friends (Lillian Richins and Jenna Murdock) as backup, Donna dances and sings her way through various emotions when her three ex-boyfriends show up at her resort. The story is told through the lyrics of ABBA hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Chiquitita,” “The Name of the Game,” “SOS” and “Take a Chance on Me.”

Hallet is thrilled to be part of what she calls an “over-the-top, almost farcical ABBA compilation.” She said she knew from the moment the play was announced that she wanted to play the role of Donna. She is inspired by the character’s resilience and determination.

Hallet said it is a fun production to be a part of, with a fun-loving and talented cast. “There’s not a single weak link, every single person on stage can hold their own,” she said.

The talented students’ performance is elevated by top-notch choreography by Summerisa Bell Stevens, an accomplished actress who previously played the lead role of Sophie in a professional production of the show. Her unique insights and professional experience have inspired the actors to step up their performance, just as other guest choreographers with impressive resumes have in past RHS productions.

Elliot said it makes a difference working with a professional choreographer who treats the students as professionals. Their expectations elevate the performance of the cast collectively and individually. He said all of the cast members have been willing to step up to the challenge.

The Saturday night show will be a sing-a-long, with the lyrics projected onto the auditorium walls so that audience members can join in during the musical numbers.

“We want the people there to have a good time, not just watching the show, but experiencing the show and being a part of it,” Elliot said.

He has enjoyed being a part of this production. He even grew a beard for the role. His favorite scene is “Last Summer” when he reminisces about the time he spent with Donna during a carefree summer of their youth.

“We talk about how it was simpler then when we didn't have any responsibilities and we just got to enjoy each other's company,” he said.

It’s a sentiment he can relate to as he savors his last year of high school and the possibility that this is his last musical production ever. “Twenty years from now, these are the moments we're going to be singing a song or telling the stories about,” he said.