Mama Mia and Jekyll & Hyde

Mama Mia! opened on Broadway thirteen years ago and still fills the house with ABBA fans. In the 70s, single and pregnant Donna opens a resort on an island in Greece. Twenty years later, her daughter decides to get married and the three possible fathers show up for the wedding. In the film starring Meryl Streep as hippie Donna the footage of Greece is breathtaking. But in the stage version you get invited to the party.

The audience sang along and rocked out which no doubt they do at every performance of Mama Mia! around the world. Theatre veteran Judy McLane, after seven and a half years of playing Donna’s girlfriend, now plays Donna. Her strength, relaxed delivery, and vocal pop chops are perfect for the role. She is Donna. Trio numbers with sidekicks Lauren Cohn (Rosie) and Corinne Melancon (Tanya understudy) were fun. The young lovers were precipitous and hunky. Dance numbers got the audience up and swinging their Spandex-clad hips. The florescent swimsuit and flippers song was too much fun. Both my eight-year-old daughter and seventy-seven-year-old mother-in-law loved it.

Jekyll & Hyde is a haunted restaurant and bar in Times Square named for 19th century grave robbers Burke and Hare, who inspired the book by Robert Louis Stevenson. There’s a choice of two entrances from the street: one normal and the other scary. Impromptu science experiments, talking wall sconces, and unexpected guests at your table are the norm. The Asian salad with cashews, mango, red peppers, and soy ginger sauce was surprisingly good. Burgers and hearty pasta dishes are also. If you want to avoid the weekend crowd you can pay for a J&H membership. Fifty dollars for a one-year Esteemed Pass will get you priority seating and you’ll wiz right past the waiting crowd. The Chamber of Horrors is in a back room. Entertainment fees are tacked onto the bill.