“Mamma Mia!” celebrates bond between mothers, daughters


Sept. 23-28. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $30. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 1-855-285-8499, foxtheatre.org.

Judy Zuber and daughter Danielle Silverman enjoy spending time together — shopping, getting their nails done, or just hanging out, chatting, laughing.

They also share a love for the performing arts, particularly Broadway shows at the Fox Theatre.

And while they rarely see the same musical multiple times, they make an exception for “Mamma Mia!”

In fact, when that show returns to the Fox this month, mother and daughter will see it for the fourth time together.

They love the disco music, the energy of this wildly popular hit musical based on the songs of ABBA. But they also connect to the sometimes silly, but always close, relationship between the mother and daughter characters.

“It’s the closeness of the relationship I really love and can really relate to,” said Judy Zuber, who is 59 and lives in Roswell.

Her daughter, 29-year-old daughter Danielle Silverman of Canton, agrees.

“My mom and I are both free spirits like the characters in the show. While we wouldn’t pick up and move to Greece to run a resort, we are both goofy and crazy and do all sorts of fun things together. We make each other laugh more than anyone else, much like the characters in the show,” Silverman said.

“Mamma Mia!” will be at the Fox from Sept. 23-28.

Seen by over 54 million people around the world, “Mamma Mia!” is inspired by catchy ABBA songs — from “Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” to “Money, Money, Money” and “Take a Chance on Me.”

The musical revolves around a single mother, Donna, who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island. Donna is about to let go of Sophie, the daughter she raised solo. For Sophie’s wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends. Sophie secretly invites three guests of her own. On a quest to find the identity of her father (so that he can walk her down the aisle), she invites three men from her mother’s past to the Mediterranean paradise each of them had visited 20 years earlier.

Georgia Kate Haege, who plays Donna in the national tour of the show at the Fox, said she thinks the relationship between the mother and daughter characters is special because they’ve been each other’s sole family for two decades. They also have a “best friend type vibe.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea Williams, who plays Sophie, said while the mother and daughter share many characteristics, such as being warm and outgoing, when it comes to traditions and security they couldn’t be more opposite.

“Although Sophie is set to have a conventional wedding that Donna has resisted from the start, the two are able to support and learn from each other instead of remaining in pointless disagreement. I hope that when mothers and daughters come to see the show, they can relate to the butting of heads that takes place on stage, and perhaps take something away from Donna and Sophie’s reconciliation. Listening to each other is so important in any kind of relationship, and there’s always more to be learned from one another, so give chances,” Williams said in an e-mail to The AJC.

The show is playful and full of color, yet may also be quite predictable — especially for those patrons who going back.

But the show remains irresistible for mothers and daughters who see a little bit of themselves come to life onstage.

Ryan Lynch didn’t think twice about buying two tickets to see the show with her mom. She and her mother, Mary Beth Lynch, saw “Mamma Mia!” separately in New York City years ago. Even before the curtain call, they had decided to see the show again. So they saw it together the last time it was performed at the Fox a few years ago. They will soon see it for a third time.

Ryan, who is 31 and lives in Atlanta, and mom Mary Beth, who is 56 and lives in Smyrna, love seeing live music at the Botanical Garden, as well as live theater. They share many similar interests and are close friends.

Yet, Ryan readily admits her relationship with her mom hasn’t always been hunky dory and has evolved over the years.

“As a teenager, I was angsty and mean and (all the) normal teenager girl stuff,” Ryan said. “But as soon as I left for college, I had a deeper appreciation for (my mother) and realized how good I had it being home and how well she took care of me. I have a younger sister and (my mother’s) No. 1 priority was taking care of things, driving us places, cooking for us and supporting us in everything we did.”

But as adults, their relationship has deepened and sweetened.

The same is true for Zuber and Silverman.

They are not only mother and daughter. They are also the best of friends.