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Night is young and the music’s high

When lifelong Abba fan Emma Muggleton heard that Mamma Mia was coming to the Bermuda stage, there was no doubt in her mind she'd be auditioning for the part of leading lady Donna Sheridan.

The British-born singer and actress instantly began work on the musical's demanding repertoire to give herself a good chance of landing the role in the production being staged by the Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

It paid off.

At the end of August she was thrilled to begin rehearsing in earnest for the biggest stage role of her life.

“Growing up, I loved Abba music. I was always listening to Abba in the house.

“I went to see the production in New York in 2007 and I thought it was fabulous.

“This is the biggest role I have played and I am taking it in my stride.”

Ms Muggleton added: “It's a lot of responsibility when you are a lead, as you have to set an example for the cast. It's hard work, but I am loving it.”

Set on a Greek island, Mamma Mia tells the story of Sophie, a young bride who is so desperate to find out who her father is that she invites three of her mother Donna's previous lovers to her wedding.

The hit musical, which premiered in London, England, at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1999, is based on the hits of the Swedish pop group Abba.

The G&S production boasts Britain's Jamie Wilkin as director and choreographer.

Mr Wilkin has been involved with Mamma Mia since 2002 when he performed in one of the original West End productions.

Interested in the performing arts since she was young, she relished the opportunity to do the songs of Abba justice.

“I have always been singing throughout my life,” said Ms Muggleton, a secretary with a law firm. “I started in school choirs and when I was 21 I joined a local operatic society in Romford, UK, where I am originally from.

“When I moved to Bermuda in 2005, I shied away from the stage at first. I was working backstage, but I knew I had to get back on stage.”

The Full Monty, The Railway Children, Oliver, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Magic of the Musicals and Jesus Christ Superstar are some of the shows she's been involved with. She also sings with choirs.

She will be practising her dance moves for performances with the in-show band, Donna and the Dynamos.

However the epic songs and powerful ballads, such as Super Trouper, The Winner Takes It All, Money Money Money and Voulez-Vous, are what Ms Muggleton loves most about Mamma Mia.

She is also looking forward to bringing to life the complexities of Donna's character.

“Donna was a carefree spirit when she was younger, but then her heart was broken and she creates this little wall around herself,” she said.

“Then this bombshell hits when all these men turn up and it turns her world upside down completely.

“She also feels vulnerable because Sophie is leaving the nest — she has got a lot of drama going on.”

Of all the Abba hits there is one she looks forward to singing the most.

Winner Takes It All is challenging emotionally but my favourite number would actually be Super Trouper.

“That's going to be lots of fun in the platform shoes and the ‘70s outfits. It's quintessential Donna and the Dynamos.”

• Mamma Mia runs from October 3 to 12 at the Earl Cameron Theatre. Show times are at 7pm with matinees at 2pm. Tickets are available from

Up to the challenge: Emma Muggleton will play the leading role in Mamma Mia, which runs from October 3 to 12 at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published September 27, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 27, 2019 at 9:01 am)

Night is young and the music’s high

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