'Mamma Mia!' group rehearsal

Seniors Lexie Merley and Jennifer Pennings rehearse a song for “Mamma Mia!” The musical featuring hit songs by ABBA premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday in the high school auditorium.

SHELDON—The music of the Swedish pop group ABBA will ring throughout the auditorium during the Sheldon High School Summer Theatre season’s final show, “Mamma Mia!”

“You’ll leave singing the songs,” said program director Lissa Lane-Johnson, who is codirecting the show with Sheldon graduate Dakota Peters.

The show will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 11-12, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14. There will not be a Saturday performance. Tickets will be available at the door and cost $7 for adults and $5 for students. Advanced tickets also are available for pickup at the high school all week starting at 10 a.m.

“Mamma Mia!” was written by Catherine Johnson and features hit songs by ABBA, such as “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Waterloo” and the titular “Mamma Mia.” The musical tells the story of Sophie Sheridan, who invites three men — Sam Carmichael, Harry Bright and Bill Austin — to her wedding in the hopes of finding out which one is her father.

Peters said the show centers on the conflict that ensues when the three men arrive and reunite with Sophie’s mother, Donna, who is a former lover of all three men.

Lane-Johnson said the show is a more lighthearted musical than the summer theatre program has shown in the past few years. Last year’s musical, “Bonnie and Clyde,” famous crime duo from the Great Depression. The year before that, the musical was, “Catch Me If You Can,” which told the story of famous con man, Frank Abagnale.

“This one’s pretty upbeat, pretty happy,” Peters added.

Lane-Johnson said one challenge that came with doing “Mamma Mia!” as this season’s musical was that several other theatres in the region have presented or are planning to present the production.

The Spencer Community Theatre, for example, presented the musical during the last weekend in April and the first weekend of May. The Okoboji Summer Theatre also will end its season with the musical.

Lane-Johnson said the worry is that people may compare how one theatre does the show with how another does it. However, she also noted that each theatre will do the show differently in terms of set and choreography.

“Every time you see it, it’s going to be a different show, you know, for sure,” she said.

Cast members of “Mama Mia!” include senior Marra Oldenkamp as Donna, senior Lexie Merley as Sophie, senior Alexius Lyons as Tanya, staff member Madeline Gude as Rosie, senior Jack Stevenson as Sam, senior Brian Nilles as Harry, senior Jesse Hickman as Bill, sophomore Maison Oostra as Sky, freshman Rachel Maggert as Ali, sophomore Emma De Kok as Lisa, junior Simon Maggert as Pepper, sophomore Ricardo Rubio as Eddie, and sophomore Ryer Dacken as Father Alexandrios.

Meanwhile, the dancers and ensemble cast members include seniors Debbie Hofstra and Jennifer Pennings, sophomores Michael Paulsen and Rose Hoogers, and freshmen Drew Vanden Hull, Vanessa Feller and Julia Van Regenmorter.

Dakota Peters directs 'Mamma Mia!'

Dakota Peters, a 2018 Sheldon High School graduate, is codirecting “Mamma Mia!” with program director Lissa Lane-Johnson. This is his first time directing a show for the summer theatre program.

Peters graduated from Sheldon High School in 2018. He is going into his sophomore at Simpson College in Indianola, where he studies theatre and psychology. He participated in summer theatre all four years while in high school.

“Mamma Mia!” is the first show Peters has directed for the program. He said he has enjoyed seeing the production come together during the past few weeks and is excited to see the cast take the stage during the show’s run.

Lane-Johnson said the cast received the music for “Mamma Mia!” while the academic year was still in session and that singing rehearsals began toward the beginning of the summer theatre season. Once the stage became available after the production of “Radium Girls” concluded, she said the cast started rehearsing in the auditorium.