Since its London debut in 1999, Mamma Mia! has been a well-loved celebration of family, fun and, of course, the music of ABBA. Now, seventeen years later, the jukebox musical’s stateside run is coming to an end with a nationwide farewell tour. In advance of the tour’s weekend stop at the Hippodrome, we sat down with Betsy Padamonsky, who plays mamma Donna in the show, to chat legacy, love and life on the road.
This is your first time appearing in Mamma Mia! What drew you to the musical?
I really enjoy the music of Abba and I love the story. This was the perfect audition for me.
Do you identify with Donna?
I do. She really cares about her friends and family and is trying hard to provide for her daughter. I don’t have a daughter, but I can definitely identify with the desire to take care of my family and friends. And her story is just so relateable—a story of love, and love lost.
What is your favorite number in the show?
I really enjoy doing the bedroom scene with my two best friends in the show and I love “SOS” and “One of Us.”
What is different about this production than others?
I think it’s the way they directed it. They really concentrated on the story. The characters are really relatable and accessible to the audience —you can understand what they’re feeling and going through, but it’s also really upbeat and fun.
What’s the best part about being part of a touring production?
It’s really cool because we get to travel and see the country, to see a lot of places we wouldn’t get to. But it’s also really important to spread the arts. It’s our responsibility to encourage and educate and inspire people. Some people will never have the chance to make it to New York, so it’s our responsibility to bring the story to them.
What’s the worst part?
Being away from husband, who lives in Tampa. But we make sure we see each other at least once a month.
What’s special about the farewell tour?
I think that we feel the huge legacy that’s behind us and want to honor that. We’re the final farewell—that’s huge.
Anything else audiences should know?
We’re just so excited to come to Baltimore! So many of us are from the East coast, so it’s great to be home.
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