Hickory – In Mamma Mia!, the hit Broadway musical coming to the Hickory Community Theatre, three friends, and former bandmates, reunite when one’s daughter is getting married. Their band was called “Donna and the Dynamos” and the members are Donna Sheridan, Tanya Chesham-Leigh and Rosie Mulligan. In the Hickory production, these roles are played by three experienced local actors. Donna is played by Cristin Cartwright, Tanya is Dorothy Collier Best and Edyth Pruitt is Rosie. All three actors have also been honored with HCT Kay Awards in the past.

Cartwright, originally from Warrenville, IL, received a Best Ensemble Kay Award for Ragtime, in which she played real-life political activist Emma Goldman. Her first HCT production was Young Frankenstein where she played Elizabeth Benning, Frederick Frankenstein’s fiancée. Since then she has been featured in the ensembles of Rent and Elf, and played Fiona Finn in Flanagan’s Wake. Her stage experience started in her home state, where two of her favorite roles were Miss Hannigan in Annie and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. When asked to name her favorite ABBA song Cartwright replied, “The Winner Takes it All, I always picture a failed romance in Las Vegas when I hear it!”

Best has received four Kay Awards since she first began acting at the Hickory Community Theatre. She has been honored as Best Character Actress for her roles as Martha Watson in White Christmas, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man and Maria Merelli in Lend Me a Tenor and received the Best Supporting Actress award for playing Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Best relocated to Hickory 11 years ago with her husband James because it was “a great smaller city with great fishing and a wonderful theatre we could be involved in.” She says Dancing Queen is her favorite ABBA song because “it takes me back to my disco days.”

Pruitt also claims Dancing Queen as her favorite, “because I am one,” she says. She has received five Kay Awards: Best Character Actress and Best Newcomer for Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Best Character Actress for Madame Thenardier in Les Misérables and ensemble awards for The Streets of Hickory and Chicago. Originally from Camden, SC, Pruitt now resides in Drexel with her husband Mike and daughter Cassidy. She is the General Manager for the Old Colony Players in Valdese. When asked why she chose to audition for this show she replied, “It’s a really fun show and I wanted to audition with my daughter before she goes off to college.” Her daughter plays Ali in the show.

Performances of Mamma Mia! are May 17 through June 2, 2019; Fridays and Saturdays (May 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and June 1) at 8:00pm, Thursdays (May 23 and 30) at 7:30pm and Sundays (May 26 and June 2) at 2:30pm. Tickets for Fridays through Sundays are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (60 and over), and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets for Thursday night performances are $16 for adults and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Call the box office at 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org to purchase tickets or get more information.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The Theatre’s 2018-2019 Season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. Mamma Mia! is produced by Alex Lee, Inc.

PHOTO: Dorothy Collier Best is Tanya, Cristin Cartwright is Donna and Edyth Pruitt is Rosie in the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! at the Hickory Community Theatre. Performances begin on Friday, May 17 and continue through Sunday, June 2. Call 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org for tickets or more information. Photo by Lauren Albers.