The Broadway hit Mamma Mia roared into town this week, bringing its over-the-top energy and the songs of ABBA to the Hobby Center. We got the chance to chat with Andrew Tebo, one of the musical's principle actors about the show, the rigors of touring and playing to an LGBT audience.
mygayhouston.com: What are fans of Mamma Mia going to like about this performance?
Andrew Tebo: It is a cut copy and print of the Broadway classic. Fans who know the show are going to love it--it's big Broadway from the costumes to the set, to the beautiful cast and company. It's also a very high energy cast, we're hearing that from everyone. There's a level of enthusiasm that's everyone can feel. And I think people who are excited to see it because they know the show are going to have a great time.
Tell us about your particular role in the show.
I play Harry Bright, one of the three suspected fathers. He's an uptight English banker who returns to Greece in search of his spontaneity and starts reliving his past. (Spoiler alert ahead) And of course, he comes out at the end of the whole show. Some audiences don't see it coming. They think "oh he's just European." It's always fun to play that big ahah moment!
How did you get involved in acting?
I went to school for acting and directing and I've been on the road for the past decade, based in New York and booking work from there. When you're an actor you're a sort of migrant worker, traveling where you need to for the next show.
Honestly, I'm so thrilled to be playing this role. Harry Bright is a supporting principle role and I get to take him on his journey of finding himself every night. It's great.
What's been the most interesting venue you've ever played?
Well I've definitely played a lot of venues. One of the most interesting was with a production of the Fantastiks, it was a great production and we ended up doing a full-scale show in a really small town in the Midwest in a basketball gymnasium. We did the full show, lights, sound, costumes everything and I have to think it was the first time many of the people in that town had ever seen anything like that. It was so much fun.
Talk about the dynamic between the actors in this cast.
This is probably one of the closest casts and most positive groups of people I;ve worked with in a long time. I came in halfway through this current run and they were immediately welcoming. We are all there and present for the whole story every night. At the center of it all is Georgia (Kate Haege) who plays Donna, and she is this just powerhouse of a performer. She carries us with her and she has such energy every night.
You're traveling all over the country with this production. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing a Broadway show on the road?
Travel is a double-edge sword. I love traveling and exploring new cities. But with that comes some long days. We'll travel maybe five hours one day, roll into a venue and perform the show. It is a challenge, but that's why we're professional actors. It comes with the profession.
What is it about this show that you think so strongly resonates with the LGBT audience?
The music of ABBA alone is fabulous. The costumes are as well. But I think more important is the amazing message that comes at the end of this show. As a member of the LGBT community, to get to actually come out on stage every night is such a magical moment. And then we show that there are all sorts of families, out there, that's the message. We're all loving and together.
The fact that this show has been around 16 years and delivered thousands of performances all over the world, that's powerful. At the end of this show every night, there is not an audience member sitting. It's just a great dance party at the end.
Mamma Mia runs through April 19 at the Hobby Center. Tickets are available for the remaining performances here.
Mamma Mia Star Talks About Traveling with a Broadway Show
Thursday, April 16, 2015 by A.J. Mistretta