'Mamma Mia!' Star Dishes on The Show Coming to The Fox in November

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

“Mamma Mia!,” that mother-daughter musical favorite, comes to The Fabulous Fox Theatre Nov. 6-8 on its North American tour of more than 50 cities. The musical brings a story of lost (and found) past summer loves and strong women told through many hit ABBA songs. Eighteen-year-old Kyra Belle Johnson, who stars as protagonist, bride-to-be and father-search initiator Sophie, shared a bit of the production’s behind-the-scenes story with ALIVE—including the story of an audition that changed everything.

Still courtesy The Fabulous Fox Theatre

Still courtesy The Fabulous Fox Theatre

When were you cast in your role?
I was just cast in March. Ths is the first time I’ve ever played her. We started rehearsals on the 28th of September.

What was your theater experience prior to landing this role?
I’d just graduated high school in June; I’m 18. I’ve been doing musicals since I was 8 locally [in Palo Alto, California] … . When I got to high school I did musicals … and then this happened and I’m here.

Still courtesy The Fabulous Fox Theatre

Still courtesy The Fabulous Fox Theatre

Wow. What was the audition like?
It was a four-day process for me, so like the first day—oh man, let me think about that actually. It was exciting because it was also my first professional audition ever. I’d never done an audition for anything other than a high school show or my own education program. I went into it looking for the experience because this is definitely a field I want to continue in. I figured, “Keep your eyes wide and learn as much as you can.” It probably helped me in the audition room to be relaxed and not think about the stress of getting the role or not. I was just there for the fun.

Does the production differ from performance to performance?
It’s basically the same show and same script, but every production of “Mamma Mia!” has its own life and its own sparkle with the different casts. I can’t even explain how much fun I’ve been having. You walk in the door for rehearsals and you’re just smiling at everyone in the room. It’s just a full day of energy and happiness, and I get home, and I’m like “Aw man, I need to go to sleep.”

What’s next for you in your theatrical career?
I live in LA, so whether after this tour I move back to LA or move to NYC, I’m not sure yet. College is still an option for me, and it’s definitely something I want to do and it’s something that’s important to [my family], but I don’t think I’ll be going to school next year. I’ll probably be working in LA.

What’s your dream show?
I have a weakness for shows in the golden age, so … a dream show to be in would be like “Anything Goes” or “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” but just a show in that era.

I have to ask … who is Sophie’s dad?!? It’s so ambiguous! 
… They never tell you! Honestly, I think it’s Bill, but that’s just me. I just think at the end—with all the evidence that’s presented—yes, Sam is in love with Donna and Donna is in love with Sam, but I think the evidence points to Bill.

Ed. note: I will see all theater-goers in the nearest karaoke bar immediately following the performances. 

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