Parkland Press

Monday, September 24, 2018

‘Abba Mania’ back at State

Friday, February 2, 2018 by ERIN FERGUSON Special to The Press in Focus

Grab your platform shoes and head to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, for “Abba Mania,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2.

“We have a real authenticity and a real love for the original music so there is real energy,” says Tamsin Stewart in a phone interview.

“Some people just go through the motions, but we pride ourselves in constantly trying to make it better and keeping it fresh. It may be the 757th time I’ve sang a song, but for each audience it could be their first so it’s important to make it special. We are really proud of our success.”

It has been 31 years since Abba toured. Two concerts at Royal Albert Hall, London, received two million requests for 5,000 available tickets. With hits including “Mamma Mia,” “Voulez Vous,” “Dancing Queen,” “Winner Takes It All,” and “Super Trouper,” and a feature film, “Mama Mia!” and a soon-to-be-released sequel, the popularity of Abba’s frothy pop songs continues.

In 2002, “Abba Mania” performed on London’s West End and continued for 18 weeks at the Strand Theatre. In November of that year, the show made its German debut at the Deutsches Theatre Munich where it sold out for 21 performances. “Abba Mania” has presented more than 3,000 shows in more than 30 countries.

“Tributes sometimes are not of high-standard, but this show is different. We all come from different backgrounds and choose to be a part of this show because of its standards,” says Stewart, who sings and plays the role of Agnetha on the European leg of the tour.

The cast on the United States tour is: Kirbi Jo Long (Frida), Shelby Ringdahl (Agnetha), Dean Balkwill (Bjorn) Jeff Pike (Benny) and Chris Blackwell, guitar; Dexter Whitaker, bass, and Wayne Viar, drums.

“We consider it a tribute show, but with the standards you would see at a big concert that’s on tour. The lighting, costumes, they are all very important.

“You realize how big Abba is and how many people want to come and get an authentic experience.

““We get such a joy from people literally being able to forget about the troubles of life and getting lost in the music for two hours and having the most wonderful time,” Stewart says.

Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132