WEST PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth West High School (PWHS) is preparing to perform their production Mamma Mia Songs of ABBA.
“We are doing what we call at West ‘in concert’ but it is not the typical in concert that you expect to see anywhere else,” said Director Linda Tieman. “We always try to start small but somehow we always end up going bigger.”
Tieman said the students will be performing all the music in Mamma Mia and added a few songs from ABBA.
“It’s all singing and dancing, there is no dialogue but it’s more high energy than seeing the musical because there aren’t any leads so let’s say Donna has five solos then we typically have five girls doing it so there’s no Donna role,” said Tieman.
Opening night for the show is Friday at 7:30 p.m. at PWHS. There will also be shows on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Senior, John Jones, said the senior’s last show was Mamma Mia in 2018.
“I think she decided to do something familiar for the seniors so everyone already knew something about it and to add on top of that this is completely different than the last time, it took what we were familiar with and put a twist on it to make it something new,” said Jones.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door.
“I’ve been at this for over 30 years at the high school and so it’s really difficult to not do the same show twice but every time we have to do that we do it with a different slant,” said Tieman.
Tieman said the arts struggled due to the pandemic.
“We were told not to perform and so our seniors this year’s last performance was their freshman year, it really puts everything in perspective,” said Tieman. “I have to keep telling myself that because I am so used to my seniors being mentors but they are all in the same boat learning together.”
Senior, Fiona Mckee, said it was hard coming back after two years of a pandemic.
“It’s really hard to come back after basically two years of doing nothing and put a show together with seniors who have only had one and a half years of experience and sophomores and juniors who went through middle school with no music but then you see a group like this and everything we have done this year has been incredible for me,” said Mckee.
Senior, Zach Elliott, said what they have accomplished has been amazing.
“For us to be able to come together and pull this off I think definitely shows what’s in store for the future because we’ve been able to do this in two months,” said Elliott. “The pieces have fallen into place and now it’s really working.”
The seniors agreed all ages are doing a great job this year.
“We have some freshman and sophomores who are absolutely killing it out there on stage and that’s really crazy to see because usually those roles would have been reserved for the seniors but now everyone is kind of on the same slate and we all have the opportunity to show something to the audience,” said Jones.
Due to weather and COVID-19, the original showing was supposed to happen in January but was pushed to March.
Tieman said watching the student’s experience has been thrilling for her.
“When we started the energy level was not there, you kind of get complacent when you’re not doing anything and it took us a minute to get back to normal,” said Tieman.
Tieman said she is glad to be able to get back to performing.
“The first time we went into the cafeteria and the kids got to get on the stage after the pandemic, some of the girls actually cried, they had missed it and it was overwhelming to have it back again,” said Tieman.
Co-Director Heather Cate said this will be a fun show.
“I think this will be a really fun welcome back show for the kids,” said Cate. “It’s like a blank slate with everybody, it’s me learning everybody, it’s trying to figure out what we have talent-wise, and I was extremely impressed.”
Cate said some of the routines are pretty difficult.
“Coming in and not having any idea of what to expect knowing I hadn’t brought people up and taught them to dance along the way for them to be able to step in and pick up some pretty difficult routines,” said Cate. “I didn’t hold anything back from this group and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Tieman said she wanted to thank their set builders Gary Tieman and Ed Ingles, Co-Director Heather Cate, the parents and community, orchestra director Jessica Powell, and costume manager, Lindsey Setty.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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