Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, including Midland Center for the Arts, Pit & Balcony and Bay City Players, recently put on a production of “Mamma Mia!”
The show is based off ABBA songs, including “Dancing Queen,” “I Have a Dream” and “S.O.S.”
The regional production involved 16 people from SVSU, including students, professors and alumni.
Tommy Wedge, an SVSU theatre professor, directed the show.
He chose “Mamma Mia!” because it could appeal to anyone, whether they were a theatre lover or new to theatre, old or young.
“If you’re somebody who hasn’t gotten the chance to see a lot of theatre, this is a great way to get your feet wet and experience some really high-quality [theatre] locally,” Wedge said. “If you are somebody who has seen theatre before, I think there are production values that you might not typically see. ‘Mamma Mia!’ is accessible. It’s open to almost all ages.”
Lexie Schultz, a music and theatre freshman at SVSU, took part in the play. She noted the importance of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance collaboration.
“This collaboration is important, as it shows the sense of camaraderie within what is typically seen as a very competitive field,” Schultz said. “The bonds and efforts put forth by everyone involved serves as proof of the community and joy that theatre brings.”
She added that their bonds helped to make the performance one to remember.
“I do not think there is a single person in this production that is less than thrilled with the outcome,” Schultz said. “There is a different kind of energy and bond within this team from anything I have ever experienced before … a strong sense of family and home.”
Wedge said he embraced the sense of community that arose from working with three different theaters.
“I was really drawn to the idea of working with so many different people,” he said. “Theatre is a collaborative art. … You need a group of people, and they need to work together toward a common goal. This took that to another level, with three theaters working together to build one unified show.”
He said he searched the internet for instances of other theatre groups trying similar collaborations.
“You don’t really find anything, because so often, theatres are so used to being siloed,” he said. “They’re worried about their audience and their particular market. What’s nice about this region is that we have sort of a regional market. We’re able to come together to do that.”
Schultz said she felt positively impacted by the experience.
“(The cast members) truly are the reason why this process has been one to cherish,” she said. “While anyone can have a great time rocking out to ABBA tunes, the people involved with this show have made it all that much more fun and memorable.”
She expressed appreciation for the people she got to work with.
“Whether it be our hilarious director, kind-hearted stage managers, skillful customers or all the others, I know that I have made friends and a family for life within this production,” she said.