Mamma Mia | The Welk Resort Theatre

110022Aside from Disney films or shows, it’s not very often I get to see a live Broadway musical performance. I still have yet to see an actual Broadway performance. However, I did manage to watch a live musical performance of Mamma Mia, the Broadway musical hit, at The Welk Resort Theatre in Escondido aka… San Diego, California.

The moment I entered the theatre, it felt like a completely different vibe than what I’m accustomed to. The smells of nachos and hotdogs didn’t fill the air, it wasn’t overly crowded, and the seats didn’t make me feel like I was sitting on an old cafeteria lunch tray. Everything from the overall atmosphere of the theatre to the stage was presented well. By the time the show was ready to begin, there was a sort of extra mini concert of the title, the theme song, and a band that we couldn’t see. It was a little under five minutes so technically it was just one instrumental, but it was still nice.

The real show starts when the main heroine of the story, 20 year old Sophie (Olivia Hodson) begins by sending wedding invitations to three unknown men to which we discover that one of them could possibly be her biological father. Afterwards, she reunites with her best friends Ali (Cheyenne Omani) and Lisa (Jillian Barnett) where she explains her plan to use her wedding as a ploy to find her real father. When Lisa and Ali ask for a bit more information on these three strangers, Sophie pulls out her mother’s old diary and begins to read it. She reads out love notes, descriptions, and Ellipses.

Proceeding this, we are introduced to Sky (Richard Bermudez), Sophie’s fiancé, who comes out on stage opened t-shirt and ripped. I’m talking photoshopped lumps that look like a bag of dinner rolls. It was not subtle at all. Additionally, we are introduced to her mother Donna (Natalie Nucci), Tanya (Barbra Schoenhofer), and Rosie (Nancy Snow Carr) as they talk about the wedding.

From here, we are then introduced to the three men that could possibly her Sophie’s father. Sam (David Engel), a down to business architect, Bill (Lance Arthur Smith), an Australian adventurer and journalist, and Harry (Mike Bradford), a jolly British banker. They have drinks at a bar and some conversation when Sophie runs into them. After a bit of conversing, Sophie convinces them to stay for her wedding through song. It is at that point, Donna shows up and the chaos ensues.

Donna runs into a room where Tanya and Rosie are arguing over who gets to sleep on a bed and who gets the air mattress. Donna arrives frantic and explains the whole situation to them to which they flip a coin to see who actively cheers Donna up. This part was by far the funniest scene in the whole musical; funny enough to briefly break the actresses out of character. When Donna begins to cheer up, they begin singing in harmony using household appliances as makeshift microphones such as a hairdryer, a curling iron, and a vibrator.

Afterwards, we find Donna, Tanya, and Rosie having some fun with the other girls as they perform as their old singing troupe. When Sam, Bill, and Harry unintentionally arrive, Sophie and the girls take this chance to dig into their pasts with Sophie’s mother as well as try to inform them of the real reason why they were invited. After a bit of confusion, they understand what Sophie has been hinting at and surprisingly take the news in good spirits. While Sophie is happy that they understand, she is then thrusted into a troublesome situation by unintentionally asking all three of them to give her away at her wedding.

The second act follows up on these issues and intermingles some extra drama. If you have yet to see Mamma Mia in any version then you are most like are unaware of how things turn out. However, for those that have yet to see it, then I highly recommend it. I don’t want to spoil how things end up. Though, I can’t guarantee that it will be as funny as the live performance that I witness. But hey, the surprise is part of the fun right?

Overall, I loved the performance. All of the actors and actresses sang on key without breaking a single time. Or at least once that I could spot. They kept their energy up in their dances and acted accordingly to their parts. Their facial expressions were also pretty good. It didn’t feel forced. Additionally, it was a lot more humorous than I was expecting, which in my opinion is not a bad thing. The jokes implemented played well, didn’t distract from the main story, and the performers were able to play them off very well. It was a delightful performance that I wouldn’t mind watching again. Should you have the chance and live musicals are your thing, then I definitely recommend it.


Dates: November 1, 2018 – February 24, 2019

Director: Larry Raben

Cast Members: Jillian Barnett, Richard Bermudez, Chris Bona, Jake Bradford, Mike Bradford, Misty cotton, Lindsey Denham, David Engel, Olivia Hodson, David S. Humphrey, Shirley Johnston, Collin McCarthy, Koda Montoya, Natalie Nucci, Cheyenne Omani, Barbara Schoenhofer, Lance Arthur Smith, Nancy Snow Carr, Megan Stys

Official Website:

The Welk Resort Theatre:

Social Media:

Summary: After reading her mother’s old diary, Sophie uses her own wedding as a ploy to invite three men that were once associated with her mother to discover which of them is her father. After their arrival, things become chaotic as misunderstandings and miscommunications arise between everyone. Sophie tries to find a way to fix everything, maintain her relationship, and find out who her real father is all the day before her wedding.

Event Details: Mamma Mia! live theatre show runs: September 7, 2018 – February 24, 2019.

ABBA’s hits tell the hilarious story of a teen’s search for her birth father on a Greek island paradise.

  • Matinee Performances | Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm
    Evening Performance | Saturday at 8:00pm

Click here or below on LEARN MORE for Tickets

Pre-show meal available.
Please note: Meal precedes the show. Meal seating starts at 11:15am for matinee shows and 5:15pm for evening performances.

The final performance of Mamma Mia! at the Welk Resorts Theatre is Sunday, Feb. 24! The production is filled with outstanding young talent like local Welk Theatre alum Olivia Hodson, who stars as Sophie, and features veteran San Diego Stars Natalie Nucci, David Humphrey, Lance Arthur Smith, Richard Bermudez, and David Engel, with debut performances by Misty Cotton and Nancy Snow Carr.

Mamma Mia is directed by Larry Raben, produced by Sean Coogan, choreographed by Karl Warden and Musical Direction by Justin Gray.

Ticket prices for Mamma Mia! are $59 for performance only and $79 to include a pre-show three course meal at the Welk Resort’s Canyon Grille Restaurant. For complete ticket information, contact the Welk Resorts Theatre Box Office at 760-749-3448 or toll free at 1-888-802-7469. Find out more online at

For group reservations of 15 or more, call 760-749-3182 ext. 22154.

Remaining performances:

  • Thursday, Feb. 14 – 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb 16 – 1 p.m. & 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb 17 – 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 21 – 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb 23 – 1 p.m. & 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb 24 – 1 p.m.



Eddieson Burkhalter | Writing Contributor
B.A | Japanese | San Diego State Univ.
My name is Eddieson. I’m an open minded dreamer that likes to look for new opportunities, experiences, and challenges in life to make things a bit more interesting. After graduating from San Diego State University with a Japanese degree and minor in Business,  I landed an office job in Shinjuku, Japan where I dealt with online marketing matters as well as content creation. Though I come from an international business background I could never escape the alluring call of an emotionally manipulating story, regardless of the medium, that could turn the toughest body builder into a two year old child watching The Muppets and eating “pig newtons”. So long as the story is well done it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s presented as a comic, video game, anime, book, movie, or even an interpretive dance with bananas and jello. After some intense independent study I have not only been more than inspired to join the industry, but brought to a point where I wonder why I gave up pursuing this stuff in college and turned to a course of pulling my hair out before each exam. Regardless, I love stories and hope to be presented with the opportunity to tell my own; most likely through writing. With a fire in my heart and goals set I am actively gaining skills each day to hopefully one day help others in their endeavors as well as achieve my own dreams. |Instagram @BlaEddieBlaView My Blogs 

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