Theater students present Mamma Mia! as final show of year

This story was originally published in the fifth edition of The Lion’s Tale (March 26, 2021).

For their final production of the year, the Oviedo High School (OHS) theater program is putting on a show of the 1999 musical Mamma Mia! Despite facing struggles along the way, they are developing a performance to remember.

“Mostly in the beginning we rehearsed outside, and that was really hard because sometimes it was a lot hotter, and it was hard to get anything done because we were all sweaty, and we were very lethargic,” said senior Shannon Ricks. “And if it was raining, we couldn’t really do much because we were outside.”

Not only was the heat affecting students physically, it was also damaging to their rehearsal equipment.

“Also, there [were] sound issues, so Mr. Lewis came in and had to bring in a speaker that failed half the time because of the heat,” said senior Adam Schievelbein. “It broke down, and a lot of times, we had to go off a little phone speaker or something and just try to do it, and it wasn’t working. Thankfully we were able to move into the auditorium, and it’s going a lot smoother now.”

The theater program has had to adjust to missing members at times because of the pandemic.

“It’s been kind of tough, because obviously we don’t have everybody, and there’s some days where we would like to have a lot done, but we can’t, so we have to focus on mainly the ensemble,” Schievelbein said.

They’ve tried to account for this concern by double casting each role in their upcoming performance.

“If one of the leads is out but we have the other one, they would take their place during rehearsal, and if it happens for the show, then that person will take over,” said senior Ariana Latorre.

Instead of practicing during their class, they rehearse after school so they can have as many actors as possible present. When students know they are going to be missing rehearsals, they inform each other.

“One way or another, we all have somebody’s phone number, so if one of us is going to be absent, somebody will text and let Mr. Carter know,” Ricks said. “If the person comes back, we just kind of tell them all what happened, and it’s not too hard to catch up.”

The students are working on acquiring their costumes. Each performer is responsible for deciding what type of clothing is most appropriate for his or her character.

Mama Mia! is expected to hit the stage from the sixth of May through the eighth.

“Although this is my first show, I’m excited to be a part of everything and put on a good show,” Schievelbein said. “COVID is making everything different, but I’m happy to be out there performing. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

While the seniors share a feeling of excitement about the performance, they recognize it will be a bittersweet experience.

“I am sad about not being able to perform in high school theater again,” Ricks said. “I’ll miss the family aspect and the traditions that we have. I can’t wait to have an amazing show to end on!”