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Nikiski a 'Super Trouper' in upcoming performance

Nikiski Middle/High School students rehearse for the production of "Mamma Mia!"
Hunter Morrison
Nikiski Middle/High School students rehearse for the production of "Mamma Mia!"

Set in the 1990s, “Mamma Mia!” showcases the tension between people who grew up in the 1970s and the show’s main character, Sophie, who's coming of age. She’s the bride-to-be in a traditional wedding, something her own mother never found appealing. Sophie also does not know her father, but to her mother’s dismay, invites three guests she thinks might be that man.

Students on Nikiski’s Drama, Debate and Forensics team first had the idea to perform “Mamma Mia!” on the car ride back from a competition last year. Some of the team members are also involved with the school's theater program and sang ABBA songs throughout the trip. The group officially began rehearsing for the show in January.

“These kids have worked really hard learning the songs, some of them have never heard of them before,” said Chris Singh, the production’s musical director. “This music is really intense for this level, so I’m actually really proud of all the work they’ve done.” 

The musical features more than 20 of ABBA’s songs spread out between two acts and an encore. The cast is a tight-knit group, which actors say makes the production even more enjoyable to watch.

“It’s the onstage chemistry,” said Jackson Hooper, who plays Harry Bright, a British man who may or may not be Sophie’s father. “We’re all such great friends, we hang out eight hours a day in our normal life, and we all just get to laugh with each other and have fun on stage.”

Oshie Broussard plays Tanya, the best friend of Sophie’s mom. The character is a bit snobby but brings comic relief to many of the musical’s chaotic situations. Broussard is one of the students who suggested bringing “Mamma Mia!” to Nikiski, and says it's been a wonderful experience working with a cast and crew she’s grown up with.

“It took a full community, from costumes to hair to makeup," Broussard said. "All this couldn’t happen without everybody involved.” 

“Just because a kid lives in Nikiski, Alaska, a little, bitty rural town, doesn’t mean that we can’t have world-class entertainment, world-class education and world-class experiences for them,” said Carla Jenness, the school’s theater program director. “I just want to bring that to them, because they’re awesome. I love our school and our town, and I love to give this gift to the community every year.” 

Nikiski Middle/High School’s production of “Mamma Mia!” will run the next two Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. at the school’s auditorium. You can purchase tickets at the door or through the program’s Facebook page.

Hunter Morrison is a news reporter at KDLL
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