Thursday, February 22, 2024

MSU Wharton Center holds 'Mamma Mia!' College Night, connects students in celebration of theater

January 19, 2024
L’Oréal Roaché, who plays Lisa, Alisa Melendez, who plays Sophie Sheridan and Haley Wright, who plays Ali, in the "Mamma Mia!" Broadway show. Photo by Joan Marcus.
L’Oréal Roaché, who plays Lisa, Alisa Melendez, who plays Sophie Sheridan and Haley Wright, who plays Ali, in the "Mamma Mia!" Broadway show. Photo by Joan Marcus. —

Last night, Wharton Center Student Marketing Organization put on "Mammia Mia!" College Night, their last college night of the year. The event took place above the Grand Cobb Theatre before the showing of Broadway’s "Mammia Mia!". Students in attendance helped themselves to food and drinks, and heard from the show’s cast members in a Q&A segment. 

College Nights at Wharton Center are pre-show events for MSU students before certain Broadway and performing art shows, including this month's "Mammia Mia!" musical

Comparative cultures and politics junior and WCSMO member Gabby Kitka said the organization picks a few shows every year to hold this event for. WCSMO then chooses a theme and decorates a room in the center for students, providing refreshments and entertainment.

“It’s a really fun way for us to be creative and take a show that has a great theme and a great message and make that something people can interact with,” Kitka said. “It’s also really fun because we can interact with people from the cast, and you normally wouldn’t get that kind of opportunity.”

A large portion of the event was spent hearing from "Mammia Mia!" cast members Gabe Amato and Patrick Dunn, who both play ensemble roles. Dunn and Amato discussed everything from their careers, favorite audition songs and reactions to East Lansing during their visit. 

The crowd was filled with students brought together by their excitement for theater. Kitka noted it was the largest turnout they had seen this year.

WCSO Secretary and marketing junior Jenna Hemmes reflected on how important these events are for connecting students

“See, when we have really cool college nights like this, students are more inclined to come get to know different people that have different interests," Hemmes said. "Those that really love theater and those who are attending their first Broadway show ever."

"Mammia Mia!" is both a Broadway show and film, its popularity bringing in hundreds to the Wharton Center. Hemmes said this was one of the reasons they chose this show for College Night: it brings in fans of both theater and movies.

Science and societies sophomore Stephanie Barroso said she hadn’t seen "Mammia Mia!" in so long, and was excited for a fun night with friends spent reminiscing on a nostalgic show.

“This is a show that I watched as a child and I think a lot of people share that same sentiment,” Barroso said. “I’m just really excited to see what I missed. When you watch it as a child, you think of things so differently than as an adult.”

Barraso was among many MSU students who could take advantage of the discounted tickets Wharton Center provides

"Mammia Mia!" is showing at the Wharton Center through Jan. 21. Tickets can be purchased here.

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