Theatre department partners up for ‘Mamma Mia!’

Tommy Wedge, an SVSU director and an assistant professor of theatre, is moving his directing skills to a bigger stage in the upcoming production of “Mamma Mia!”

The production is a collaboration between three local theaters: the Midland Center for the Arts, Pit & Balcony Theatre and Bay City Players.

“Four of my colleagues wanted to increase coordination within theaters,” Wedge said. “We created a reviewing circle, so we already had relations from that. Then when the rights for ‘Mamma Mia!’ came out, everyone wanted it, so we decided to all work on it together.”

The production will be shown starting in September. Bay City Players will host a cabaret night of the production Sept. 5 and Sept. 6. The shows will then continue to run at the Midland Center for the Arts from Sept. 20 through Sept. 22, as well as Sept. 27 through Sept. 29.

Concluding the showing will be Pit and Balcony Theatre from Oct. 2 through Oct. 4. The show is geared towards high school students and communities who aren’t as exposed to the arts.

Pit and Balcony will be showing the play free to high school students, and Bay City Players will host workshops.

“We’re focused on doing openings for high schools,” Wedge said. “We want to expose them to the arts, especially for schools who don’t have that.”

The production will have a much bigger scale than SVSU’s own Malcolm Field Theatre. The show will be available to about 1,500 seats at Midland Center for the Arts.

“The scale is huge,” Wedge said. “It’s a huge shift from 500 to 1,500 seats. Producing and collaborating to match the scale is also difficult, but we have a fantastic team. It’s a nice mix of people who work in different theaters, as well as professionals and volunteers who participate in it.”

SVSU students Cailey Brown and Vanguard reporter Melanie Frasca will also be involved in the production as stage manager and assistant stage manager, respectively.

“I’ve worked with the stage manager, Melanie Frasca, on quite a few productions,” Brown said. “We work well together, and I was thrilled when she proposed that I be one of her assistant stage managers.”

Brown noted that her previous work has helped her to land such a crucial role in the show process.

“I’ve also enjoyed working with the director, Tommy Wedge, in the past, and I just finished stage managing a production at Midland Center for the Arts Center Stage, so I’ve been fortunate enough to have several experiences that helped to connect me with this collaboration,” she said.

Brown’s role in the play is assisting Frasca in making the production run smoothly. Brown is also excited to collaborate with Wedge again, as well as multiple other theaters.

“Collaboration like this just doesn’t happen,” Wedge said. “Theaters don’t collaborate like this for their season, so the nature of it is different. It’s amazing.”

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