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Thank you for the music

Ashleigh Went

MAMMA MIA! The Musical arriving in Canberra

Canberra was lucky enough to be treated to a dose of Sarah Morrison when she played the lead role of Lisa in Ladies in Black earlier in the year. Much to our delight, Sarah will be returning to our city in November—this time as Sophie Sheridan in MAMMA MIA! The Musical.

Securing this role would be a cause for celebration for any actor. For Sarah, it holds special significance, given her family’s love affair with ABBA.

“My parents used to play the ABBA Gold album all the time when I was growing up” explains Sarah. “We were robbed when I was about eight or nine, and my mum still hasn’t gotten over the fact that one of the things that the robbers stole was that album. I definitely grew up in an ABBA household.”

Sarah says that it was one of the first—if not the first—show that she ever saw as a child at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

“Mum and I went along as a little treat. I definitely feel like I’ve got some kind of background from growing up with the show. It’s exciting to become a part of the MAMMA MIA! alumni.”

Following three years of touring as Lisa in Ladies of Black, the role of Sophie is a departure that explores a different facet of life for young women.

“I’m 27 now, I played a 17 year old for a couple of years. Sophie is only 20 and it’s not that there’s a huge age difference, but she’s very different to Lisa—a lot more confident. She’s getting married—it’s my first romantic role which I’m super excited to do.”

Sarah is particularly excited about working with the MAMMA MIA! cast.

“We had a photoshoot day a little while ago and I got to meet the eight principals. There was this buzz in the room, everyone was so excited. Particularly for people like Natalie [O’Donnell], Alicia [Gardiner] and Jade [Westaby] who have all done the show before in different roles and are coming back to it.

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“Seeing how excited they are makes me even more excited—they’ve already done it, so the fact that they’re coming back for more speaks volumes.”

Sarah also tells me that she’s reached out to other cast members and met with them for coffee. Not all cast members are new introductions, however.

“Stephen Mahy who is playing Sky, my fiancé, is a very dear friend, so I cannot wait to launch into that with him. Doing a show every night with a best friend is going to be awesome.”

While MAMMA MIA! explores romantic relationships and marriage, it’s the maternal relationship between Sophie and Donna Sheridan that Sarah is quick to praise.

“It’s great to be in a show with some really strong female roles. The men are awesome too, but you’ve got this mother-daughter duo who have done it just the two of them all their lives, which I think is cool. What I really loved about Ladies in Black too was that mother-daughter thing. I think it’s a very special and unique relationship. The fact that I get to do that with Nat, who’s already played Sophie before, is wonderful.”

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Although MAMMA MIA! and Ladies in Black share a focus on mother daughter relationships, Sarah says that her experiences in the two shows have been “totally different”.

“With Ladies in Black, I was the baby of the cast and was so nervous. This time around, I’m no longer the baby. I’ve got a lot more confidence now, two years later.”

Canberra is the first city that will be treated to this season of MAMMA MIA! The Musical, with previews beginning on November 24.

“I’m really excited to come to Canberra” says Sarah, “because Canberra was the final leg of Ladies in Black. I hadn’t been there since I was in grade ten, but we had the best time. I think Canberra was one of the best audiences we had, if not the best. I think it’s awesome that we’re starting there because I know that the crowds in Canberra are up for a good time.”

Having stayed in Braddon last time around, Sarah says she thoroughly enjoyed her taste of Canberra, having indulged in a deconstructed gin and tonic from Tipsy Bull, among other local treats.

“I think I ate my way through Braddon” she laughs. “I’m excited to go back.”

Not nearly as excited as we are for MAMMA MIA! The musical.

the essentials 

What: MAMMA MIA! The Musical
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre
When: 24 November – 17 December
Tickets: From $89.99. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the Canberra Theatre Centre website.

Photography by Peter Brew-Bevan

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author

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