Behind the Scenes of Mamma Mia! production at The John Cooper School
Set in the Greek Isles to the hit songs of ABBA, one of the largest John Cooper School casts to date will present the musical Mamma Mia! on December 6, 7 and 8 in the school’s Glenn Performing Arts Center located at One John Cooper Drive in The Woodlands, Texas.
Approximately 60 cast and tech crew members will put on nine dynamic big numbers in what Cooper describes as a “cheesy, wonderful and fun” show that will have the audience dancing in their seats for the big finale number. Many will recognize the songs in this fast-moving production that features colorful dance numbers choreographed by Elizabeth DeMonico. Rae Moses is the music director, Marcus Bridgewater is directing the technical crew, Troye Dingle is the audio director and Laura Targett is costume designer.
Tickets for the public are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are now on sale at www.coopertickets.org.
Behind the Scenes with the Mamma Mia! Crew
Hello Woodlands had the exciting opportunity to go behind the scenes and photograph the performing arts cast and crew preparing for the December performances.
Ashley Cooper, Director and Theatre arts teacher at The John Cooper School leads the large cast, approximately 60, and shared, “It’s not just the leads telling the story, it’s the entire ensemble…The most important thing I do is help the actors tell the story. I interpret the story they need to tell and guide them through the process. I identify the most important lesson or theme and in this show, it is love.”
Elizabeth DeMonico, Choreographer and Dance teacher talked about the fun ‘70s throwback show and shared, “My job as choreographer is to work with the actors to enhance and develop characters and scenes through movement. You see the differences in a scene based on how the characters move.” Jay Prieto is assistant choreographer and stage manager of the production.
Rae Moses, Music Director, Orchestra Conductor and Choir Director, has the job of teaching the music to the leads and the ensemble who have varying musical background. The production is based on the music of ABBA and is predominantly music and is quite difficult because it is transcriptions of ABBA hits, so harmonies are exactly the same. All songs, approximately 29, include ensemble singing. “There has been terrific buy-in from the students. It’s hard to not have a good time with this show. It’s fun and the students love it,” shared Moses.
Marcus Bridgewater, Technical Director and Teacher, and Steven Bogard, Associate Technical Director, work with a team of students to streamline and implement the engineering of the set production, making sure everything is built consistently, to scale and in a safe and timely manner.
“I challenge and work with the students to take on responsibility for major aspects of the tech side of the production. For example, the drafting and drawing of the set, or managing the construction timeline and making sure everything is built to certain standards…It’s really on-the-job training about the many facets of the technical side of a show,” stated Bridgewater.
The Student Technical Staff includes Christian Winston, Student Technical Director, Will Haynes, Scenic Designer, and Danielle Pham, Master Carpenter.
Laura Targett, Costume Designer and Manager, designs, builds, purchases, alters and sources all clothing items, including accessories, for the show. This includes dressing to facilitate quick changes during the show. With such a large cast, there are many costumes – over 800 pieces of costume in this show – and each cast member has around four costume changes. The costuming supports each student to find their character and allows the audience to immerse themselves in the look and feel of the show.
Targett shared, “Scenery, lighting, sound and costumes bring the show to life!”
Troy Dingle, Audio and Video Director, is responsible for the lighting and sound for the production. With the large amount of musical numbers, this is a critical position for the success of the show.
Special thank you to Deb Spiess, The John Cooper School Performing Arts staff, Mamma Mia! production crew and cast for allowing Hello Woodlands to go behind the scenes of the upcoming production.
Attend the Mamma Mia! production on December 6 and 7 at 7 p.m., December 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. at the Glenn Performing Arts Center at The John Cooper School located at One John Cooper Drive in The Woodlands, Texas. Purchase tickets ($15 adults; $10 students and seniors) and learn more about the performance at www.coopertickets.org.
Established in 1988, The John Cooper School is a Pre-K through Grade 12 independent, college preparatory school that has a current enrollment of 1,284 students. Learn more about The John Cooper School at www.johncooper.org