All the dancing queens in Bakersfield, take note. Knowing me, knowing you, we're all ready to get our tickets to see "Mamma Mia!" opening Friday at Stars Theatre Restaurant.

All ABBA music puns aside, this is a highly anticipated show, perhaps not anywhere as much as at Stars, which has been waiting for the rights for this Broadway blockbuster "for a long time."

Director Bruce Saathoff said, "Normally the rights for community theaters come out after two or three years, except for blockbusters like 'Mamma Mia!' They opened in 2001 and we have been tracking availability since."

Securing the rights, the theater opted to make this the season opener for its 50th season.

"I think this show has wide appeal," Saathoff said. "It’s fun and super entertaining. We wanted to start the season with a great hit show and 'Mamma Mia!' certainly fits the bill."

A big fan of both ABBA and this jukebox musical, he knew he wanted to be a part of the show.

For those unfamiliar with the musical or the 2008 film (and 2018 sequel) starring Meryl Streep, the story is a doozy. On the eve of her wedding, Sophie (Erica Lynn) invites three men — Bill (Frank Sierra), Harry (Kyle Whitaker) and Sam (Tim Armijo) — who all are possible contenders to be her birth father to the Greek island for the festivities. Her mother, Donna (Jennifer Resolme), has her best friends and former Dynamos bandmates Tanya (Abby Bowles-Votaw) and Rosie (Rosie Ayala) to help her through the drama.

There are 24 numbers in the show and an ample ensemble, which, unlike in other productions, performs their parts on stage.

"Some shows call for recorded and off-stage voices," Saathoff said of ensemble work. "We have changed that up by incorporating them on stage in most scenes to create a feeling of community on stage that we hope carries into the audience."

"If they're singing, you should be able to see them."

Saathoff said choreographers Marnie Forzetting and Cody Garcia made sure that everyone has a place and natural movement.

"Choreography keeps the show moving, keeps it exciting."

With lively musical numbers and a set by Jacob Brown to transport audiences to Greece, the show will kick off the season right, Saathoff said.

"People are going to have a great time and forget their worries. Sit back and relax."

At least until the show's finale, that is. During the cast's final bows, there's a musical reprise replete with custom-made costumes and encouragement for the dancing queens in the audience.

"People will get up out of their chairs and have a good time."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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