With alternating casts, drama leaps into ‘Mamma Mia!’ March 30, 2023 — by Lena Aribi, Anamika Anand and Divya Vadlakonda Photo by SHS DramaThe drama program advertises their spring musical with a flier containing a QR code to purchase tickets. The spring musical is expected to sell out due to its popularity, lighthearted storyline and captivating soundtrack. The spring musical is expected to sell out due to its popularity, lighthearted storyline and captivating soundtrack. As the lights dim and the stage lights up, the drama program will fall into the story of “Mamma Mia!,” a heartfelt tale about a mother and daughter duo, Donna and Sophie, whose relationship is tested when Sophie invites three men who she thinks could be her father to her wedding. Last summer, junior Ashly Henry suggested “Mamma Mia!” as a possible spring musical, which struck up many positive responses and was later approved by a drama board of upperclassmen and drama manager Benjamin Brotzman. The show will have the two casts switching roles every show; performances will take place on April 28 and May 5 at 7 p.m and April 30 and May 6 at 2 p.m. One cast consists of senior Joanna Bejar as Donna, sophomore Diya Iyer as Sophie, senior Allison Tan as Tanya, senior Amrita Gopal as Rosie, senior Dustin Peng as Sam, senior Irene Frazier as Harry, freshman Nila Venkataratnam as Bill and freshman Beni Mercurio as Sky. A second cast consists of sophomore Niraali Garg as Donna, senior Anastasia Ramirez as Sophie, junior Ashly Henry as Tanya, senior Ananya Gupta as Rosie, senior Uma Phalke as Sam, freshman Ben Davies as Harry, sophomore Kat Aldrete as Bill and senior Olivia Smith as Sky. Throughout all the shows, the cast members will be alternating between playing their parts and being in the ensemble. In other words, cast members have to learn the show twice — the ensemble part and their own lines as major parts, Bejar said. “Everybody’s pushing themselves really hard to be the best they can,” Bejar said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also fun and it definitely pays off.” There are 27 songs total in the musical and as the lead role of Donna, Bejar will be singing a large handful of them, including solos, duets, truetts and ensemble songs. Bejar mostly runs her songs at home, listening to recordings and practicing them over to perfect notes that are difficult to hit, so that she can be comfortable singing on stage. Due to most of the soundtrack consisting of ABBA songs, which have boomed in popularity, Bejar has found it easier to memorize the songs as she has heard their lines before. The musical accompaniment has not been finalized, however, Brotzman is currently looking for enough members to form a pit orchestra. As for lines, performers with scenes together practice their scripts together. Bejar described the environment of group practices as energetic and fun, overall motivating everyone to keep getting better. Reflecting on the success of productions from other high schools in the Bay Area like Prospect High after performing “Mamma Mia!” and subsequently selling out five shows, Henry said she anticipates that the SHS shows will be sold out as well. “All these people are learning these new skills and putting in effort to do new things they’ve never done before,” Bejar said. “Go watch the show!” 3 views this weekAbout the contributorsDivya VadlakondaDivya Vadlakonda, Class of ‘25, is an Entertainment Editor of the 2023-24 Falcon staff. Previously, she was a Reporter and Layout Artist between 2021-22. She enjoys writing about less-covered local topics such as the school's Special Education department, pop culture trends, visual/performing arts and student spotlights. In her free time, she enjoys drawing charcoal portraits, reading books and spending time with her friends.