ST. GEORGE — After nine nights of laughs, sparkly disco onesies and dancing, Dixie State University and Raging Red’s production of “Mamma Mia!” wrapped Saturday night at the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale.
The production was put on not only in hopes of delivering a high-energy performance in a spectacular outdoor venue but also to raise money for student scholarships. Raging Red is Dixie State’s highly selective theater and dance team that travels across the country and occasionally overseas to perform. All of the money raised through ticket sales will be given back to Raging Red to enable students to travel and perform next school year.
“We have 22 members that dedicate quite a bit of time throughout the semester,” director Geoff Reynolds told St. George News. “They’re kind of ambassadors for DSU and a lot of people get to connect with Dixie State through Raging Red. We do a bunch of recruiting, and they get a chance to be involved really heavily.”
Raging Red’s members are all Dixie State students, but “Mamma Mia!” included cast members from throughout the community, ranging in age from 6 years old to adults. Reynolds said it was fun to involve the community in all aspects of the show, including set design, sound and choreography.
“We have a lot of local talent here that’s really phenomenal,” he said. “It really does take many, many hands to put on a production of this size and caliber, so I’m just really appreciative that there’s been so many people.”
The cast was split into a green cast and a blue cast, and each group took turns performing as the leads throughout the nine nights. The adult roles were not double-cast, so each audience saw the same Donna, Rosie, Tanya, Sam, Bill and Harry each night.
Kim Beatty, who played Donna, said that the play was special to her because five of her family members were cast in the show. Beatty acted alongside her husband Del, who played Sam, and her son Jefferson, who played Sky, as well as her daughter-in-law and youngest son.
“For me, a big part of it has just been being able to spend time with my family, rehearsing and entertaining and things like that,” she said. She joked that in the play, Donna and Sam have Sophie, which is the fuel behind the plot, but in real life, Donna and Sam had Sky.
Growing up as an athlete, Beatty said that theater was something she dabbled in but was always put second to running – until she had a family.
“It’s something that I hadn’t really developed until I became an adult and maybe more in recent years and have discovered a love of performing and music,” she said. “I began doing it as a way to spend time with my family. Almost every show that I have been cast in, I’ve had at least one other family member with me.”
Samantha Eagar, who played Sophie in the green cast, said that the show was a resume-building opportunity for her and something that she hopes to pursue more in the future. A soon-to-be junior at Dixie State, Eagar hopes to major in vocal performance and one day sing for movie scores.
“Being able to connect with the other actors is a really cool opportunity,” she said. “I get to see it from the audience’s perspective when it’s not my night. I just love to see people singing along to the songs and having a good time.”
Despite the heat during the day, Reynolds said that performing in the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater was a breathtaking experience.
“If you’ve seen ‘Mamma Mia!’ before, you haven’t seen it this way,” he said, adding that the gorgeous backdrop and the level of talent onstage made it a spectacular show. “I think we have some of the best of the best.”
Additional information about Raging Red can be found online.
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