Revere Players present Mamma Mia!


Courtesy of Revere Players

Official Playbill for Mamma Mia!, showcases key moments from the musical

While the final bell for the day may have rung and the vast majority of the school cleared out, in the Revere High School auditorium, there is no clear indication that the school day has ended. One glance across the room may lead an untrained eye to suspect total chaos with guitarists practicing riffs, crew members making lighting adjustments and actors committing lines to memory. But as Revere Players enters tech week, the disarray begins to seem much less like a chaotic mess and much more like a way of life. 

Revere Players will perform Mamma Mia! as their annual spring musical. To create a production of such a large scale, the dedication of a multitude of individuals is necessary, and it is their commitment that creates a successful show. While a massive commitment is required, each of the productions advisers return time and again because of the unforgettable experience it provides. 

Mamma Mia! follows the story of Sophie, a young woman about to get married on a beautiful Greek island, who secretly invites three men from her mother Donna’s past to the wedding in the hopes of finding out who her father is. Chaos ensues as the three men arrive, and Donna must confront her past and the choices she made as a young woman.

The story is set to the music of the popular Swedish pop group ABBA, with catchy and memorable songs like Dancing Queen, Take a Chance on Me and Mamma Mia!. The music sets the tone for the romantic comedy and captures the spirit of the Greek Islands it takes place within.

Although Mamma Mia! was met with massive success upon its first visit to Broadway in 2008 and has even been adapted to the silver screen with a Meryl Streep led film in 2018, the musical has never before found its way to the Revere stage. That is, until first year Players director Sarah Pine decided to bring the show to the high school this year. Pine explained what goes into choosing the yearly musical. 

Secondary playbill for Mamma Mia! (Courtesy of Revere Players)

“I always want students to have a great balance of work over their high school experience, that combined with cast size and a bunch of other factors help to narrow down the decision. Looking at all of the information, it just seems like a really good time to do Mamma Mia!, and I know it is really popular with this age group as well,” Pine said.

Another unique aspect of Mamma Mia! is how contemporary it is. Oftentimes high school productions will focus on more dated subjects, an issue created by the high cost of licensing for high profile scripts, but for Mamma Mia! the more inflated price was deemed well worth it. Pine explained how Mamma Mia! became her first choice. 

“What was so exciting to me was that it had never been performed at Revere before. I also thought something contemporary would be better because we went classical in the fall with A Midsummers Night’s Dream. Mamma Mia! for me just checked a lot of those boxes. It is also a personal favorite of mine, and I knew it had a lot of really good roles for the students that we have,” Pine said. 

Mamma Mia! features songs from ABBA, making it a jukebox musical. Songs are interwoven into the plot just as they would be in a normal musical. Pine explained how this dynamic affects the production. 

“I usually think the story of jukebox musicals stinks because you take this music that already exists and then you try to make a story work around it, but for whatever reason that is not the case with Mamma Mia!. It has this fun story that totally works and the music supports it. So to me, it’s very special in its genre and that’s something that makes it work really, really well,” Pine said.

While Pine has had experience with the management of this year’s fall play, this will be the first time she has taken the mantle for the spring musical. With such a different genre, many different challenges arise. She gave insight into some of the hardships she has faced.

“For a musical, it is coordinating all the different pieces. Making sure that myself, the orchestra, the choreographer, all know if there are any changes to the production that we need to make. Getting all of the pieces to come together and be cohesive is the trickiest part. It is a little easier in the fall play because you don’t have quite as many pieces, but at the end of the day, it is making sure that the set, the props, the costumes, the actors, all of the different elements are coming together and working together into one cohesive whole,” Pine said. 

The challenges that a production creates only serve to better the show as a whole, and because of that, the process as a whole can be very rewarding. Since Pine is involved in the production so heavily and faces so many challenges, when the reward comes, it mean even more. 

“It is so gratifying to see how proud the students are of their work. Getting to see them achieve, especially when you have the benefit of working with some of the same students for multiple years, and seeing the way they grow from production to production, and the sense of accomplishment they have. When you get to that closing night and nobody wants to leave the building because they are not ready for it to be over; you can see just how much this means to them. That is the most rewarding part,” Pine said.

Although this may be the first time Pine has been at the driver’s seat of the program, this is far from the first production she had been a part of, having worked on many of Revere’s shows in the past. Despite this, she still sees just how special this year’s performance looks to be and how excited she is for it. 

“I think everyone is perfectly cast, and people are doing really well. It is kind of weird to ask a bunch of high school students to sing about the time they got divorced. It is an interesting challenge when you have younger actors because you do not have all of the life experiences behind you to bring to a role like this, but they’re doing a really great job with it,” Pine said. 

The major difference between the production of the fall play and spring musical is, of course, music. Instead of just memorizing their lines, actors are required to not just sing but to do it in harmony with one another, adding another layer of complexity to the process. Michael Wiley is the choir director for Revere Middle School and serves as the music director for Revere Players. Wiley explained his involvement with Players.

“I am in charge of teaching the music to all the students and making sure they know whic parts to sing. It is a critical role in the musical, well because it is the music, so it is very important that we get things learned quickly and retain it very even quicker so that they can get on stage and perform,” Wiley said. 

While actors may find it difficult to memorize their lines in a play, a musical creates an entirely new layer of complication and increases the difficulty of an actor’s job by a significant amount. It is Wiley’s job to make sure that the actors are prepared for the stage. 

“Our biggest challenge is making sure that the kids retain the information and that they do not forget it. I am here twice a week for the rehearsal process, and making sure that they retain the music each time since there are gaps between rehearsals can be difficult,” Wiley said. 

For a production to truly come to life, the world of the show must be created, and massive set pieces are not born out of thin air. Art teacher Robert Pierson began his involvement with Revere Players in 1998 and since then, he has been directly involved with the creation of the groups, backgrounds and set pieces for 25 years. Mamma Mia! will serve as the 50th production that Pierson has worked on with Revere; he explained how he first found himself as a part of players. 

“Right out of art school, I worked at a theater where occasionally they would need help making sets, and I always really enjoyed helping out with that, so after that I had experience with a couple productions… When I ended up at Revere, I volunteered to help out with set design, and eventually I was asked to come on as the assistant director and do the scenery. 25 years later, I’m not tired of it, and I plan on doing it as long as I’m here,” Pierson said. 

While art on a smaller scale may be easier to comprehend, the scale at which Pierson works with to create the backdrops for each production is a much taller task. The first thing an audience is shown in the course of the show is a backdrop, so to begin the show with a bang is quite important, and the massive scale of Pierson scenes hold up to that standard. He gave background into what it takes to produce such a large piece of art.

Crew members prepare the Mamma Mia! stage (Aidan McKee)

“The inspiration ultimately comes from a multitude of other ways I have seen sets be created.  After I decide on an idea, I plan for the stage and I graph it out on paper with an illustration… Everything eventually comes together and it’s really just one big painting. It’s really rewarding because everything is made from scratch,” Pierson said. 

Following the production’s final curtain call, the sets that Pierson has worked so long to create cannot be appreciated any longer, while their memory may remain, the canvas will be painted over to allow for another production to begin. Despite this, Pierson and his crew still spend months on end devoted to creating the best possible product they can, and it is because of that the immersion of the musical is possible.

“The most rewarding part [of the production] is seeing how much fun everyone has working here. Everyone shows up because they want to be here, and it is really enjoyable to have such committed individuals. Then there is the audience and their reactions when the scenery goes up and their shock at how great it looks… The theater curtain comes up and people see, and you hear a response, that’s really, really gratifying,” Pierson said. 

Pierson’s work serves to represent a much greater theme within the Revere Players community. For months the cast, crew and advisers work tirelessly to produce the greatest show possible, and it is their continued dedication that has confirmed this reputation. Long after the curtains close on Mamma Mia!, while the audience may file out of the theater, and the lights shut off, the dozens of people who worked so hard on the show will never forget what it meant to them.

Mamma Mia! will begin showing at the Revere High School Auditorium on April 20th, 21st and 22nd at 7:00 PM. The final bow will take place on April 23rd at 2:00 PM. For tickets visit

Cast List:

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