Students work with pros on ‘MAMMA MIA!’
CLEMSON — Finding time to assist back stage with a nationally touring Broadway production is not in a typical college student’s daily schedule. However, Clemson University performing arts students are getting that chance.
The musical hit “MAMMA MIA!” is about to kick off its national tour, but not before a two-week stop at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts for “tech rehearsals.” During the mid-September visit, the technical elements of MAMMA MIA! will be put together on the Brooks stage. The crew will rehearse lights, sounds, cues, sets and performances to have everything performance-ready before the show appears in theaters across the country.
Clemson students majoring in production studies in performing arts will assist throughout the process, helping to put finishing touches on the set, carrying cable and working back stage during the show’s first two performances at the Brooks Center.
“The unique partnership between Worklight Productions and Clemson’s department of performing arts not only allows our students the opportunity to work side by side with industry professionals for two weeks on campus, but has led to jobs for our majors on national and international theater tours upon graduation,” said David Hartmann, chairman of the performing arts department.
Brooks Center director Lillian Harder said she met the show’s producer, Stephen Gabriel, at a conference in New York.
“We began a conversation about his search to find a venue to tech a family musical. Steve was looking for not only the right venue, but also for exceptional students who could assist in every phase of the production process. I convinced Steve that the Brooks Center would be the perfect choice and that our students were capable of doing whatever was asked of them,” she said.
The collaboration has been a happy one since it began in 2005, with presentations of numerous family shows and larger-scale musicals like “Avenue Q” in 2009 and “In the Heights” in 2011.
“MAMMA MIA!” will open its official national tour with two performances in the Brooks Center at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, and Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Featuring the music of the band ABBA, the show tells the story of a mother, daughter, three possible dads and a trip down the aisle.
Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets and information are available at www.clemson.edu/Brooks or by calling the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.