Mamma Mia! Returns to Houston With Its ABBA Songs Intact

It's the return of Mamma Mia!!
It's the return of Mamma Mia!!
Photo by Joan Marcus

It's the jukebox musical that will not die or even pause for much of a breath if you've ever seen it. Mamma Mia! is on its way back to Houston, with a firm grip on all of its bouncy pop songs by the Swedish band ABBA ("Mamma Mia," "Take a Chance on Me," "SOS," "Dancing Queen" and more).

Georgia Kate Haege plays Donna, the mom, who has come face-to-face with her carefree past when her daughter Sophie decides to get married and wants her dad, who she doesn't know, to walk her down the aisle. Looking through her mother's diary, Sophie spots the names of three men that her mom went out with in quick succession and invites them to their Greek island for the wedding, pretending she is her mom. Confusion, misunderstandings and reawakened feelings ensue.

The Australian Haege, who trained in classical voice but moved to fronting pop rock bands and as a background singer when she came to New York City, seems admirably suited for the national tour. "I sing 14 songs and I'm on stage in every scene," she says.

How she got the part is a testament to the power of the iPhone. She missed the audition for the national Mamma Mia! tour but when she showed up to audition for another musical the casting director remembered her and asked if she knew "The Winner Takes it All." She didn't but she read the lyrics off her iPhone, singing while the piano player read the music on his iPhone while the casting director recorded it all. And a star was born.

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"This show has the amazing music of ABBA; it's so catchy," she says. "It has songs that everybody loves and the story line is really fun. It's not a dark and serious night at the theater. You can take the whole family."

Mamma Mia! runs April 14-19. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Through April 19. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 800-952-6560 or visit $30 to $100.

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