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SHS brings Broadway to Shafter in 'Mamma Mia'

The Shafter Drama Club performed the Broadway classic "Mamma Mia" last weekend, giving three performances of the popular production, delighting audiences with a quality show.

Drama Advisor Hal Friedman, who is also the artistic director for the Ovation Theater in Bakersfield, led the group through a challenging production that had singing, dancing and acting at a high level.

The play takes place on an island where Donna, an innkeeper and mother, is planning a wedding for her daughter Sophie. Donna was played by stage veteran Laura Neufeld. Neufeld wowed audiences last year in the title role of last year's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."

Neufeld played Donna as a free-spirited woman who must try to plan a perfect wedding while having to face some memories of her past.

Sophie was played by MacKenzie Ackman. Sophie, unbeknownst to her mother, invites three men to the island for her wedding. The three men are possibly her father, who she wishes to walk her down the aisle. Sophie gets the men to keep their appearance on the island a secret at first. The three men are Sam, Bill and Harry, three beaus from Donna's past. Sam was portrayed by David Bloemhof, who also delighted audiences in last year's show. He played groom-to-be Robert Martin. Bloemhof was joined by Adan Vargas as Bill and Josue Villalobos as Harry.

All three men believe that they could be Sophie's father, each lamenting on their would haves and should haves concerning Donna.

Donna is joined by her longtime friends Tanya and Rosie. Tanya was played by Emily McGuire, who is no stranger to the Shafter High stage, either. She played bride-to-be Janet Vandegraff in last year's production. McGuire was hilarious as the wise-cracking Tanya, who is a three-time divorcee, who was part of the trio Donna and the Dynamos years ago when she, Donna and Rosie are friends at the University of Oxford.

Rosie, quick-witted friend of Donna and Tanya, was played by Desiree Aereola. Rosie is an unmarried, fun-loving author. When Donna finds out that the three men are at her house, she tells them to leave, not knowing why they had made the trip to the island. The show features the music of supergroup ABBA, including songs, "Vous les Vous," "Money," Super Trooper," and "Mamma Mia."

By the end of the show, it is still unclear who the father of Sophie is, but it is clear who was truly the one who got away, as far as Donna was concerned. She ends up marrying Sam when her daughter and Skye decide to call off their wedding, realizing that they are just not ready to get married. A mega-bash ensued, with Tanya dancing with Skye's best man Pepper, many years her junior, and the group finding solace in the company of great friends.

The audience was clapping and singing along by the end of the performance.


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