ABBA-cadabra: Mid Valley students bring musical to life

From left, Mid Valley Underwood Players Hannah Evans as Tanya, Isabella Desmarais as Donna Sheridan, Katie Drake as Rosie, Grace Yusavage as Sophie Sheridan, Zee Davitt as Sky, Ryan Repecki as Sam Carmichael, Aidan Tinney as Bill Austin and Matthew Lorenzetti as Harry Bright.

The Mid Valley Underwood Players Theater Company will present Mamma Mia! on April 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. at the district’s Secondary Center.

In this jukebox musical, the story of Donna Sheridan — a single mother to Sophie Sheridan, who is trying to find her father — is brought to life with the music of ABBA through their hit songs including “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Super Trouper,” “Lay All Your Love on Me,” “SOS,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” The cast of Mamma Mia! brings the audience to Greece in this captivating story of romance, comedy, surprise and over-the-top fun.

The Mid Valley Underwood Players Theater Company brings a distinguished level of professionalism to the community in Mid Valley’s newly renovated theater. The Underwood Players have incorporated a stunning set, a unique lighting design, specialty disco costumes, a professional band and other components to bring this sensational musical to life.

Junior Grace Yusavage earned the role of Sophie Sheridan by wowing judges in auditions with her incredible vocal ability. Yusavage’s outstanding range and vocalization techniques are sure to impress the audience.

“When I heard that I had been given the role of Sophie, it felt like a dream come true,” she said. “I am so excited to be able to live out this dream with other members of the cast who are like a second family to me. I am beyond grateful to perform this show for our community which is so supportive of the Mid Valley Underwood Players.”

Drama Club President Matthew Lorenzetti earned the role of Harry Bright, one of Sophie’s fathers, with his outstanding and accurate interpretation of Harry’s character.

“The members and directors helped me realize who I was and what I wanted my life to look like in the future,” he said. “Being in this club allowed me to become more aware of my views on life in a meaningful way. Out of all of the memories I have created in high school, being an Underwood Player is undoubtedly the best memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Other actors in leading roles are: Isabella Desmarais as Donna Sheridan, Ryan Repecki as Sam Carmichael, Aidan Tinney as Bill Austin, Hannah Evans as Tanya, Katie Drake as Rosie, Zee Davitt as Sky, Mara Wall as Lisa, Arleana Thompson as Ali, Luke Novack as Pepper, Keanu Gillern as Eddie and Xachary Szewczyk as Father Alexandrios.

Ensemble members are: Gabriella Baglivo, Isabelle Baglivo, Molly Banik, Bianca Barilka, Isabella Barilka, Emily Beck, Kiralynn Blank, Jocelyn Bringhurst, Violet Campos, Lilyana Castellano, Lily Cortazar, Ava Devereaux, Sophia Gentile, Hayleigh Golden, Madelyn Grunza, Serenity Lenko, Devin McHugh, Emma Merrifield, Gerald Olt, Emily Porcoro, Nina Ricchiazzi, Chase Richmond, Abigail Saverslak, Carlo Savo, Emerson Shimkus, Greyson Shimkus, Avery Tinney, Addison Tully, Kelly Wilson, Matthew Woytach, Tess Yanoski, Alyson Yazinski and Abigail Zerechak.

After 36 years of directing the Mid Valley Underwood Players with dedication and passion, Patricia Powell has taken on an advisory and creative role. Powell has mentored me; I have been an involved member of the Underwood Players for several years throughout her high school and college years. Now in my fifteenth year with the Underwood Players, I have been named as director.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to establish and direct the Underwood Players for 36 years,” said Powell. “I loved every moment of creating full-scale shows each year, and I hope the Mid Valley community and beyond remember me, the musicals and the actors who brought the shows to life. I want to thank my former students and colleagues who made the task a bit easier and more memorable.

“Having Gianna, a former actor and my most observant, talented and dedicated protégé take over in my place makes me extremely happy. She has the abilities to build the quality shows which the Underwood Players deserve. I appreciate the opportunity to share my artistic talents during my retirement, and I hope everyone attends the future shows. Miss Manzo and the Underwood Players will superbly carry on one of the finest Mid Valley traditions.”

I am honored to follow in my mentor’s path and work with such a talented and dedicated cast for my directorial debut.

I am honored to be named as director of this extraordinary group. I thank Mrs. Patricia Powell, my director and friend, for sharing her expertise with me and for her unwavering support. She has created a tradition of excellence, and I plan to continue that tradition for the school and the community.

For my directorial debut, I am grateful to be working with such dedicated students. They are incredibly talented and are excited to bring their very best performances to the community. I could not be more proud of them.”

Other members of the production staff are Sarah Zwiebel, assistant director; Jonathan Mengoni, music director; Isabella Snyder, choreographer; and Ross Donato, drama club advisor.

Gianna Manzo is the director of the Mid Valley Underwood Players Theater Company. To purchase tickets to “Mamma Mia!” for a general admission cost of $10, contact the box office at