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By Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal
Special to the Village News 

'Mamma Mia' wows audiences at the Moonlight


Last updated 7/1/2018 at 7:49am

Ken Jacques Photography photo

"Mamma Mia" can be seen at the Moonlight Theatre through June 30.

One of the hottest tickets this season just may be "Mamma Mia" at the Moonlight Theatre. It is such a popular show, Moonlight Stage Productions has added an extra night. Why you ask? First, because it is fabulous! Second, the singing is better than the movie because the singing and music is live. Third, the talented actors own their roles.

Directed and choreographed by John Vaughan, "Mamma Mia" lives up to the legend.

Lyndon Pugeda is the musical director and conductor who will send you home humming. And all the songs are easy to follow since Jim Zadai designed perfect sound and Jean-Yves Tessier allowed us to see what was happening on stage with his magical lighting design.

Stephen Gifford designed the set, Alexandra Johnson the costumes and 3-D Productions provided the sets, costumes and props. Pulling this terrific production together is the costume coordinator trio of Carlotta Malone, Roslyn Lehman and Renetta Lloyd. Score 1 for that team.

Make up designer Gabe Nunez did a fabulous job. Surprisingly, Peter Herman missed the mark this time with wigs. Not sure why they (wigs) look so tired.

The unsung heroes are still backstage. Bonnie Durben at props, Justin Hall oversees tech, followed by lots of support from Stanley Cohen is the stage director leading his behind-the-curtain-minions to keep the show on pace.

Sharing the stage with Donna Sheridan (Bets Malone) is daughter Sophie. Malone sings her heart out whether mother, proprietress or former lead singer of the girl band Donna and The Dynamos.

Katie Sapper steps right into Sophie's shoes which just goes to prove that it doesn't take a big body to produce a big voice. Her acting and singing both rate very high marks.

The two maids-of-honor are played by Kylie Molnar, the flirtatious Ali, with Janaya Mahealani Jones as the party girl Lisa. They are a couple of cuties.

Two other featured actor/dancers include Nicholas Alexander as Pepper and Hanz Enyeart as Eddie. Both show just the right amount of fervor toward the thrice married Tanya who's show stopping number "Does Your Mother Know" was performed superbly by Barbara Schoenhofer. She can sing, she can dance, and she is one hot-long-legged lady!

The third back up singer in Donna's trio is Rosie (Karyn Overstreet). Not only can she belt out a song, her shameless efforts to seduce Bill are hilarious. She eats up the stage. In her solo "Take a Chance on Me", Overstreet sparkles with comedic timing as she lures Bill, into "we could go walking" while trying to change his mind about marriage.

Sky is Sophie's fiancé. Handsome and fit, Nicholas Sloan is the perfect beau. Although, it was a bit off putting when, as the island guy, he and his friends were not tan. White male bodies glared over the footlights. (Really, if you live on a Greek island wouldn't your body be sun kissed? It is an easy fix by spray tan or a tanning bed).

Sophie's three dads – Sam, Harry and Bill – shined. Sam Carmichael (Robert J. Townsend) delivers as Donna's ex-beau with romantic gestures that make him the leading man in my book.

Comic relief was garnered by Lance Arthur Smith as the reluctant lone wolf, Bill Austen. Smith rocked his character! He has rib-tickling timing.

Finally, there is Harry Bright (Jason W. Webb). Webb is no stranger to local theatre, and as Harry-The-Headbanger he wears the spandex jumpsuit like he has one at home.

The ever so talented backup singers-dancers include Beth Alison, Kalin Booker, Deborah Fauerbach, Julia Alessandra Martinez, Sebastian Montenegro, Koda Montoya, Dylan Nalbandian, Jacob Narcy, Joy Newbegin, James Odom, Amy Smith, Chad Takeda, and Andrea Williams.

Moonlight Production Stage company has been bringing fine musicals to Vista for years. When "Mamma Mia" closes, "Newsies" will follow from July 18 to Aug. 4. The "Hunchback of Notre Dame" will come next and their year will wrap with "Chicago" starting Sept. 12.

The point to all of this is to remind you to grab season tickets for the final shows. Should you be new to the area, picnics are encouraged in certain areas in the amphitheater before the show. Parking is free, too.

Don't feel like schlepping a meal? Grab a bite at Luna Café on sight near the main entrance. Voted Best Caterer by San Diego Magazine it's worth checking out.

Moonlight Stage Production has kicked the doors down with the astonishingly good show "Mamma Mia". Call early to find a ticket (if any are left), Box Office: (760) 724-2110 or go online to

This show is rated 9.75 out of 10.

The writer can be contacted at


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