Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players present Mamma Mia with shows March 26 through March 28

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Musical season is once again upon Governor Livingston and the Hilltop Players are excited to move in a new direction from last year's production of Chicago to a lighthearted, funny performance of Mamma Mia!.

The play is set in a beautiful seaside village in Greece in a taverna. The show is centered around a mother-daughter duo who have a relationship to end all relationships. Donna Sheridan, played by senior Mia Montero, finds herself coping with the fact that her daughter, Sophie, played by junior Rebecca Candeloro, is soon to be married. 

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Sophie struggles with her upcoming wedding because she has no one to walk her down the aisle. She invites three men, one of which is suspected to be her father, which comes as a surprise to Donna. The performance explores Sophie's journey of finding her father. In addition, Sophie's wedding reunites the old crew of Donna and the Dynamos, the pre-Sophie girl power group. The Dynamos are played by seniors Maycee Campano and Bella Barbosa.

The many hours of rehearsals, learning the lines, songs and dances have fostered strong bonds between the actors. Sophomore Sara Martin said, “Everyone is very collaborative and helpful when it comes to learning and teaching others the choreography and blocking[staging].” 

Candeloro said, “The cast has been bonding through hangouts, working on scenes together, and learning dances. Cast bonding is super important— it’s important that a cast can come together as a family to put on the show.” 

Not only will there be songs that everyone will want to sing along to, but the dance numbers are high energy. Sophomore Makayla Curtis, who is in the ensemble, is very excited to perform in her first Hilltop Players musical. She said, “I think the dance numbers are coming together really well thanks to our choreographer who made sure we were familiar with all our material super early in the process.” The musical is being choreographed by Laura Chaneski. 

While the dance numbers may look seamless on stage, the steps and poses do not become perfect overnight. Senior Josh Bezerra said that “Voulez Vous” is his most challenging dance number. “It's a whole lot to memorize and there are a lot of partner parts.”

Campano gives insight on the challenges she has faced in developing her character. She said, “I have a very energetic scene with my scene partner Dan [Sternberg], in which I am chasing him around the wedding pews, having fun with him and dancing around. I have to keep in mind that I am, assumedly, an arthritic, 50-something-year-old woman. Trying to internalize that in my body has been a bit of a challenge, but we are making it work.” 

Mamma Mia! will throw the audience into an emotional rollercoaster. However, in the end, everyone is guaranteed to leave the theater smiling. The intricate dances and beautiful music create a Governor Livingston Hilltop Players production that will be like no other. 

Mamma Mia! will open March 26 and run through March 28. Tickets will be sold online and at the door. To purchase tickets online visit glhp.booktix.com.