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It's never too late for some Towson residents to tackle 'Mamma Mia'

The Charm City Players performed “Mamma Mia” on stage at Mercy High School from March 9 to 24. The hit musical, based on music by ABBA, featured bold costumes and songs such as “Super Trouper,” “Dancing Queen” and “The Winner Takes it All.”

Among the cast were Towson residents Nick Richardson, Neil Dubovsky, Paul Foster and Patricia Anderson, who, coincidentally, all live less than a mile apart in the Wiltondale and Stoneleigh neighborhoods. Richardson hadn’t performed theater in years, and Dubovsky and Foster were newcomers to the stage. Anderson was already a dedicated CCP cast member and costumer, this time enjoying her first lead.

Richardson sings and plays with several area bands, but plays were something he hadn’t ventured into since high school. “My friend Charlie Albert, who lives in Hampton, asked me to audition for one of ‘the dads’ in the show,” Richardson said. “I was cast as Bill Austin, and had to pull off an Australian accent. I went to high school in Sydney, so that made it a little easier.”

“I’m 45 and had never done anything like this in my life,” said Dubovsky, who admits that it was a “subconscious bucket list” item. “About a year ago, my wife and I took our daughters to see ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and I saw a sign with the following season’s shows. I mentioned auditioning for ‘Mamma Mia’ to my wife, and she was super supportive.” When Dubovsky earned a role in the ensemble, his family was ecstatic. “While it was personally fulfilling for me, my girls [5 and 7 years old] loved watching me do this. They learned all the songs and most of the dance moves, and it has them both interested in doing shows in the future.”

Foster was home one weekend catching up on some tedious paperwork when he was happily sidetracked by an email from a friend in CCP, telling him that the roles for “the dads” in “Mamma Mia” had not been settled, and asking if he might be interested in auditioning — in an hour. “On impulse, and mostly out of pique, I wrote back ‘yes.’ My son, with his guitar, helped me practice an audition piece, and I was there before I could change my mind,” Foster recalled.

The musically talented group of actors came together beautifully. No small commitment; rehearsals took 10-12 hours per week since mid-December (and 20 hours in the final week), and seven performances were held. Everyone nailed their roles so well that, in the last show, when the band unexpectedly lost power for two songs, “the cast carried on without missing a beat, a cappella. Many in the audience never even noticed,” Foster said.

The cast enjoyed camaraderie and had great fun. Richardson says the group took the experience, but not themselves, very seriously.

“I’d recommend it to anyone that hadn't been on stage for more than 40 years,” he said. “I’d consider doing another show, if I can pull it off without compromising my real job.”

Bravo, all. Thank you for the music!

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