Sophie Sheridan (Tyler-Dale Moon) is engaged to Sky (Cameron Johnson). Photo, Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Timberline looks to ABBA for latest stage inspiration

Show at Campbell River secondary school starts March 8

The show Mamma Mia! started life on the stage and later became a big hit on movie screens when the film version starring Meryl Streep was released in 2008.

Still, it wasn’t feasible for schools to stage the project, but now Timberline Secondary is holding its own version starting March 8.

“This is the first year the rights were available,” says teacher Jana MacFarlane, who’s also the artistic director for the show.

Mamma Mia! tells the story of Donna, a hotelier in the Greek Islands, whose daughter Sophie is getting married. Sophie, though, has found her mom’s diary, which indicates any one of three men from her mom’s past could be her father. The situation starts getting a little more complicated after Sophie invites all three to the wedding, and as the show is a musical, the show is chock full of ABBA classics.

“It is our 22nd show since the opening of the school,” says teacher and musical director Celine Ouellette.

For the two directors, it marks the fourth production they have worked on together. The school has staged other shows in recent years such as Fame, The Wizard of Oz, The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

As to how they decide on what show to do, the teachers consider what productions they’ve done before.

“We look at the shows we’ve done in the past,” MacFarlane says.

They also base the choice on which students will be coming back for the next year and what will work best for them, says Ouellette.

The current production is an ambitious one, of course with 22 songs, and musicians from the school playing the score. The show includes about 30 kids from grades 9 through 12.

“It’s been really hard with all the choreography, but I think it’s going to turn out really good,” says Tyler-Dale Moon, who plays Sophie. “It’s just such a hard musical to do, but, like, the cast is amazing.”

Timberline started rehearsals for the credit program after Thanksgiving, and the students are attending rehearsals three times a week after school. Having a cohesive group becomes all the more important for a large show. Cameron Johnson, who plays Sky, Sophie’s fiancee, says he likes to focus on making the group more of a family in light of how much time they spend together.

“That’s something I really strive for,” he says. “I’m surprised how well it’s gone.”

Along with the efforts of the students, the two directors also credit their work colleagues for help on Mamma Mia!

“We’ve also had lots of help from other teachers,” says MacFarlane. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

And, as with past productions, the cast expects a big turnout when the show hits the stage.

“It’s hard to get tickets,” adds Johnson.

The show runs March 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Timberline office for $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Contact the school for more information at 250-923-9500 or email timberline@sd72.bc.ca.

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Donna (Jenna Beauregard) confronts the three fathers: Sam Carmichael (Erik Nessel), Harry Bright (Ryver Santos) and Bill Austin (Benjamin Cooper). Photo, Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

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