PEI

'Super Trouper' replacement joins Mamma Mia cast at last minute

Replacement actor Christy Adamson arrived on P.E.I. 45 minutes before the curtain went up at the Confederation Centre of the Arts production of Mamma Mia Thursday night.

'By the time we got to the finale I was like fan-girl screaming'

There were three replacement performers taking part in the production on Thursday evening. (Submitted by Confederation Centre of the Arts)

Thursday morning had started like any other day for new mother Christy Adamson. She was with her six-month-old baby in Toronto getting ready for the day.

Then a text message around 9 a.m. had her packing up her baby and heading to the airport to take on the replacement role of Tanya in the Confederation Centre of the Arts production of Mamma Mia in Charlottetown.

"There wasn't a lot of time, unfortunately, and as any mom knows out there that has a tiny one who wants to grab everything, it's pretty impossible to actually sit and get some work done without having your focus on them," said Adamson.

"But I did, I just sort of quickly look through my script and tried to remember this beautiful show."

Mamma Mia, set to the music of Abba, follows a daughter's journey to discover who, out of three of her mother's suitors, is her father. Tanya is a wealthy multi-divorcee who is a friend of the mother.

Christy Adamson had played the role of Tanya during the production at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. (Submitted by Confederation Centre of the Arts)

The production had to be cancelled on Wednesday night. Artistic director Adam Brazier said unforeseen health-related circumstances had them in dire need of a strong replacement for the role.

"Now Christy had played the part two years ago in a different production with a different director, a different cast, in a different province," said Brazier. "So she was coming into complete unknowns."

'She killed it'

The centre delayed the start of the performance to allow for the travel time and had Island singer/songwriter Scott Parsons perform during the delay.

After a few challenges with the airlines, Adamson was due to land around 6:30. That meant she was only able to get to the theatre around 7:15 for an 8:30 show.

"We pushed the show back half an hour so we could get a little bit more time on stage. And she went out there and she killed it. She nailed it. It was theatre magic," said Brazier.

Adam Brazier at Confederation Centre of Arts says that Thursday's show was a sold-out performance. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

"Parts of it were definitely an out of body experience," said Adamson. "I felt very, very crazy but a lot of it was really, really fun.

"The cast that they have here is incredible. They're extremely supportive. They are so good at their jobs and so they all made me feel really safe on stage with them."

Brazier said that in all, there were three understudies on stage that night, one who only had 45 minutes to learn the show.

The centre also had to deal with another hiccup during the performance when power on parts of the Island went out, including in Charlottetown.

'Having a human experience'

Brazier said it happened at the very end of the song Winner takes it all and the timing was perfect.

"There was probably about 8 seconds where the audience was like 'Is this supposed to happen or not?' because the timing could not have been better," Brazier said.

The show also dealt with a power outage during the Thursday night performance but the cast didn't miss a beat. (Submitted by Confederation Centre of the Arts)

It took about eight minutes for the back-up generators to kick in and the show to continue.

"One of the beautiful things about theatre is that you're having a human experience among strangers," said Brazier.

"To have an experience like that when you know the stakes are so high for the people who are performing, you know you're watching somebody come in here and save the show. And at the same time taking massive risks themselves and that kind of energy is so palpable."

Adamson said she will continue to do the role for the next few shows, or as long as the centre needs her.

"I have gone through some pretty crazy things but definitely not like this, I have never been flown somewhere to someone else's production to do it," Adamson said.

"She didn't miss a beat," Brazier said. "My jaw was on the floor the entire night and by the time we got to the finale I was like fan-girl screaming."

The production of Mamma Mia will continue at the Confederation Centre of Arts until Sept. 28.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Isabella Zavarise

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