On Nov. 11, the Pacer drama program will perform 'Mamma Mia!' In person onstage.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Lakeridge High School's drama department prepares for its upcoming "Mamma Mia" performances.The lyrics from "Money, Money, Money" by ABBA swallowed the large auditorium at Lakeridge High School as students glided across the stage in a choreographed dance.

"Good, but let's do it once more and this time with more energy," drama teacher Andy Ballnick said to the group before restarting the song.

Pacers Drama, The Lakeridge High School's theater department, has returned to the stage with a rendition of the hit Broadway play "Mamma Mia!"

After almost a year of not performing together due to COVID-19, the nearly 50-member team is working harder than ever to perfect each role before opening night Nov. 11.

"Coming back from COVID, there's nothing really like doing it in person, especially with our departments, and the energy is unmatched," said PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - A few cast members practice a scene. Alexa Shaheen, a senior who plays Sophie in the play. "The community is honestly super supportive. Everyone is really rooting for each other.".

"Mamma Mia!" follows Donna, a hotel owner in the Greek islands, who is preparing for daughter Sophie's wedding. Meanwhile, Sophie has secretly invited three of Donna's ex-lovers who she thinks might be her father. The play covers songs by Swedish pop band ABBA and was selected because of its upbeat, positive script.

"This is such a fun, positive, energetic show to welcome theater back to the LO community," Ballnik said.

However, the students are just as excited to work together once again.

"My favorite part of coming back is the people, and making more memories with everyone," said Preston Barlow, a senior who plays Sam.

As Shaheen and Barlow practiced on stage, senior Audrey Barbieri watched from the auditorium seats. Barbieri joined the drama department only a few weeks ago and is part of the tech team.

"I've always wanted to join theater, and everyone here is so talented," she said.

The opening performance of "Mamma Mia!" is at 7 p.m. Nov. 11. More showtimes and tickets can be found on the Pacer Drama's website. PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Some of the cast members of "Mamma Mia!" practice a song.


What: Lakeridge High School's performance of "Mamma Mia!"

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 11, 13, 18 and 20; 2 p.m. Nov. 13, 20

Where: Lakeridge High School Auditorium

Cost: $10-$14, tickets can be purchased at

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.