Sophie has a nose ring.
The sweet, clean-cut daughter and bride-to-be in the musical “Mamma Mia!” is getting an edgier treatment in the hands of Chelsea Williams, who is playing the character when the show makes a return to the Old Pueblo Friday.
“I came to the decision that I would try to bring as much of myself to the character as possible; I went to the audition with a nose ring, and they let me keep it,” says Williams, somewhere on the road between Davenport, Iowa, and Roanoke, Va., two cities on a whirlwind road tour that crisscrosses the country. Most stops on the yearlong tour are for two or three days, and then the cast and crew pack up the bus and head for the next city.
“I’m bringing (Sophie) down to earth a little bit, and keeping it fresh,” says Williams.
It’s one of the ways that the young (23) actress can put her mark on a character that first appeared in on a London stage in 2000 and went on to play Broadway, around the world, and even become a movie. More than 54 million people have seen it, boasts the “Mamma Mia” website. The stop in Tucson will make the fifth for the musical — the last was in 2009.
While Williams is trying to keep the character of Sophie fresh, she also wants to keep her real. And that’s not too much of a stretch.
“Sophie fits me like a glove. She’s passionate about finding something that’s important to her,” she says. “It’s very easy for me to relate to that. It all kind of makes sense. Nothing about it feels contrived.”
The high-energy show has a story built around ABBA tunes. Sophie has grown up on a Greek island with her single mom. As Sophie’s wedding approaches, she discovers her mother’s diary, which reveals the names of three men who could potentially be her father. Sophie, unbeknownst to her mom, invites them to the ceremony. Mamma mia, indeed.
If you know ABBA (oh, of course you do), you’ll likely find yourself trying to contain your inner must-sing-along self. After all, it’s near impossible to not join in on tunes such as the title song, “Take a Chance,” “Dancing Queen” — oh, the list goes on.
Though Williams had never seen the play before she auditioned, she sure knew the music.
“My parents, especially my dad, played it when I was growing up,” she says. “I love ABBA’s music. I think everyone does.”