Madison Miller/staff photos
                                Eastside residents rehearse for the upcoming community musical, “Mamma Mia.”

Madison Miller/staff photos Eastside residents rehearse for the upcoming community musical, “Mamma Mia.”

Eastside Community Musical debuts ‘Mamma Mia!’

Studio East and KPC are presenting “Mamma Mia” Feb. 7-8 and 14-16.

Community theater will make its second annual return to Kirkland. The Kirkland Performance Center (KPC) is partnering with Studio East to present the second Eastside Community Musical, “Mamma Mia.”

Last year’s community musical, “The Music Man,” was the first one in over 10 years. KPC and Studio East are happy to bring it back for a second year.

Studio East founder and this year’s community musical director, Lani Brockman, said she created the Eastside Community Musical several years ago. She was sad to see it go away for all those years, but was glad to see it return to the community last year.

According to the production’s description, “Mamma Mia!” follows the story of Sophie, a young girl living in Greece, who is in search of a father she has never met. She invites three men whom she discovers in her mother’s diary and believes to be candidates. When they arrive, Sophie’s mother, Donna, becomes distressed. As Sophie, her fiancée Sky, Donna, her friends, and the three potential fathers prepare for Sophie’s wedding, emotions run high and surprises abound.

KPC managing director David Bander and Brockman said they chose “Mamma Mia!” for its lighthearted story and beloved ABBA songs.

“It’s a jukebox musical and everyone loves these songs. You can’t help but sing along,” Brockman said. “There’s a large chorus with minimal dancing and has iconic music.”

More than 85 people auditioned for the 40-person cast in December. Brockman said a few rehearsals had to be canceled due to snow, but everything is on track.

Several of the main characters are Studio East alumni. Rachel Kuenzi stars as Sophie. Sam Pettit stars as Sam and Ryan Lile stars as Harry.

“It’s been extremely fun,” Pettit said. “We’re all singing each other’s songs and just having a blast.”

“It doesn’t really feel like we’re working because we’re just having so much fun,” Lile said. “We get to sing, play and create. It’s just a great show.”

For Kuenzi, she’s starring alongside her mother.

“We always said growing up that if we were ever going to do a musical together, it would be ‘Mamma Mia!’” she said. “It’s been so great to do something like this with my mom.”

She said the generational aspect is what makes the show extra fun.

“It’s accessible to all ages and people. Everyone loves these songs and they’ll never get old,” Kuenzi said.

“Mamma Mia!” is set to debut Feb. 7 at KPC. Pettit, Lile and Kuenzi said they hope the audience sings and dances along with them — and they encourage the audience to dress up.

“The whole show is honestly a giant party,” Lile said. “I hope folks will dress up, sing and dance with us.”

For more information, visit www.kpcenter.org.

Eastside residents rehearse for the upcoming community musical, “Mamma Mia.” Madison Miller/staff photo

Eastside residents rehearse for the upcoming community musical, “Mamma Mia.” Madison Miller/staff photo

Eastside residents rehearse for the upcoming community musical, “Mamma Mia.” Madison Miller/staff photo

Eastside residents rehearse for the upcoming community musical, “Mamma Mia.” Madison Miller/staff photo

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