Leverette to play lead in ‘Mamma Mia!’

Published 11:15 pm Thursday, April 11, 2019

One might think Nelsey Leverette would be rather nervous when the curtain opens on Troy University’s production of  “Mamma Mia!” Friday night at the Claudia Crosby Theater.

After all, Leverette plays Sophie Sheridan, the lead role in the ninth longest-running Broadway show and the longest-running jukebox musical in Broadway history. And, it’s the first student leading role she has played in her first year at the university.

But no. Leverette said she is not nervous at all.

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“I’m more excited than anything,” Leverette said. “I love what I’m doing and I’m looking forward to putting our work out there and let people see it. If I do get nervous, I’ll take a deep breath and pray.”

Leverette is no stranger to the stage. She had the leading kids’ role in “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge from age 8 through 12.

And she had several leading roles in theater productions at Charles Henderson High School, including Millie in “Thoroughly  Modern Millie,” Laura in “Band Geeks’ and Sally in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Leverette relishes all of those experiences but cannot hide her enthusiasm for the role of Sophie on the big stage at the 700-seat Claudia Crosby Theater on the campus of Troy University April 19 and 20.

“The storyline is wonderful and lots of fun with singing and dancing,” Leverette said. “‘Mamma Mia!’ is such a great, fun story. It takes place on a Greek Island where Sophie is getting married. She wants her dad to walk her down the aisle but she doesn’t know who he is.”

In an attempt to find the identity of her dad, Leverette said Sophie slips her mother’s diary and finds three entries that give her clues.

“She decides that Sam, Bill and Harry could all possibly be her dad,” Leverette said. “She is sure she will  know which is her dad when she sees them.”

And that’s when the fun and frolic begin.

The presentation involves 37 student performers, five faculty members and two alumni in the cast, along with a combination of 55 students, faculty and alumni in backstage, production or orchestral roles.

“I think people of all ages will enjoy ‘Mamma Mia!’,” said Tori Lee Averett, chair of the Troy University Department of Theater  and Dance. “The nostalgic music of ABBA is a fun bit of retro reminiscence. The set, costumes and lighting display the exciting and romantic setting of the Greek island escape combined with a rock concert environment, the energy of the performers is absolutely contagious, and the story has universal appeal.”

Lee-Averett said “Mamma Mia!” is an excellent representation; of the exemplary and fine and performing arts at Troy University, along with the strength of the collaboration between all the different areas that come together to make a show.

“I truly believe we are a hidden gem –  big city caliber show right here in Troy.

Show times are 7p.m. Friday, April 19 and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday. April 20. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students with an ID and are available at the Trojan Center box office and can be purchased at http://troytheater.org.