First-time stagestress Carol Davis says taking on the role on Tanya in the Camrose Churchmice Production of “Mamma Mia” has been an awakening.
The 57-year-old says playing life-long best friend of the lead character, Donna Sheridan, has shown her it is all right to be larger than life sometimes.
“Tanya is just a big and confident character who knows herself,” Davis said. “She has shown me that I can do this and be a confident woman in my own way.”
A retired denturist, Davis says she has been reserved her whole life. But playing Tanya has shown her how to be more comfortable with who she is.
“Tanya isn’t old school, she isn’t quiet and meek. She was a rebel a long time ago,” Davis said, adding the character is “empowered in her own way.”
Taking to the stage for the first time as an actor later in life was never the plan, Davis says. She had sang and danced on stage for small events and concerts but had never dreamed of acting.
It was her sister, who lives in Camrose, who persuaded Davis to try out for the production last September.
“I never would have done this if it wasn’t for my sister practically forcing me to,” Davis said with a laugh.
Davis remembers auditioning on the very last day, after much convincing from her sister. She was also the very last person to audition that day.
After finally deciding to give it a shot, Davis said she expected to maybe get a part in the chorus.
“When I got a call back, I was shocked. It was a term that I had only ever heard on T.V. or in movies,” she said.
“When I got the part, I remember asking the director if he was sure.”
The music of ABBA is also near and dear to Davis and her family. Davis says she remembers singing and dancing along to ‘Dancing Queen’ when she was 17.
Her family also used the clean and pop-y music from the Scandinavian group to remember her father.
“Being in the play, singing these songs, it just takes me back to when I was 17, and the joy and excitement of that time,” Davis said.
Davis says the musical will transport everyone out of the dull drums that comes with life, to a time when everything was exciting and joyful.
“…Who doesn’t want to be in the warm sun of Greece with wonderful music and steamy romance?”
There are two casts performing the Broadway hit, with Davis and her cast opening the show on Feb. 7.
“I’m so excited to experience it all, every part of being in this show,” she said, adding she is extremely nervous for opening night.
The two casts will switch off nights. Davis will be performing Feb. 7, 10, 14 and 16 at the Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose.
Davis says she has caught the acting bug, and hopes to audition for other plays in the area, once ‘Mamma Mia’ wraps.