CUMMING, Ga. — If you’re a fan of ABBA music, then don’t miss your chance to see Mamma Mia!, a musical production based on hit songs from the Swedish pop group.

“The audience will know most of the songs, and we encourage them to sing along,” director Kyle Larsen said. “There are still moments, there are heartfelt moments, and then there are these humongous production numbers that people enjoy.”

The show, which opens tonight at the School Street Playhouse, will run the entire month of September with nightly performances Thursday through Saturday and Sunday matinees. Larsen says preparing for this show has been bittersweet, following the loss of a local musical director.

“It's been a little sad,” she said. “It's the first time we've ever used tracks because we've always had Bob Russell as our musical director. This time we haven't had Bob because he passed away earlier in the year, and so that has made our production very different.”

Despite the change, Larsen says everything has fallen into place with this production, and audiences are in for a treat.

“This production was especially magical,” she said. “We have an amazing cast. There are so many talented people in our show, and we've been blessed with great male leads, great female leads, the ensemble is all working together. It's something that I strongly believe in as a director. It's not about just one person, it's about the whole unity of production backstage and on stage. Everybody's important.”

One unique aspect of this production involves the lead characters, all of whom live in Cumming.

“Getting to do it like five minutes from my house in my hometown has been absolutely wonderful,” Hannah Garmon said. “Specifically getting to do a show like this with my sister for the first time in about four or five years, it's been a very cherished moment for me.”

Garmon plays Sophie, the young female lead, a role made famous by Amanda Seyfried in the 2008 film by the name same.

“It's actually been really fun getting to do this for once and then seeing how similar and how different Sophie and I are with like playing around with things, getting ideas, trying to instigate some things,” Garmon said. “The gist of it is really finding yourself, but, specifically for Sophie, it's about going on this journey to find out who her dad is.”

“It's about relationships between friends,” Larsen said. “New friends, old friends, men and women, and then also, most important is mother and daughter.”

Joe Goode of Cumming plays Sam Carmichael, one of the male leads. Pierce Brosnan played this part in the movie, but Goode says his performance will be very different.

“I can't live up to James Bond, so I can only bring so much for the table,” Goode joked. “It is one of the better productions you will get ever, because of the talent that we have, the leadership that we have, and I think the vibe that we've got as a family coming together.”

Donna Phipps, another Cumming native, agrees. She plays Donna, a role made famous by Meryl Streep.

“It's been great,” Donna Phipps. “The staff here has been wonderful, very supportive, and welcoming. The cast and crew are amazing. It's really a family atmosphere. It's been a lot of fun.”

For showtimes and ticket pricing, CLICK HERE.

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