HERE WE GO AGAIN: ‘Mamma Mia!’ set to debut this month at WCHS

Published 7:53 am Monday, February 19, 2024

Before the first ticket is sold, or the curtain rises, much time is spent preparing for an opening night performance. There are parts to be learned, costumes, and sets to be made and hours of rehearsals to attend. But after the last line is read, the final song is sung and the curtain falls, taking part in a high school musical is an experience students and instructors alike can cherish for many years to come.

“I’ve been in every musical since ninth grade and even did musicals before with my older sister,” Warren Central High School senior Katie Wallace said. “Being in musicals or doing anything music-related has always brought me a joy and happiness that I can’t describe. There’s something so fascinating about being stressed and anxious while at the same time being so excited to do something and to be a part of a show.” Especially this year as Wallace takes on one of the leading roles in WCHS’s upcoming production of “Mamma Mia!”

Based on the songs by the chart toping Swedish group, ABBA, “Mamma Mia!” is a musical comedy that tells the story of a young woman’s search for her father. The musical premiered in London in 1999 and is now the ninth longest-running show in Broadway history.

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Harlan Mapp, who is the choral director at WCHS and who is also serving at the producer of the show, said he chose “Mamma Mia!”  based on the students available who could maintain a lead role and because of its entertainment value.

“We needed a show that had some form of titular relevance to hopefully increase the attendance at our shows and ‘Mamma Mia!’ offers that given the former live-action adaptation and the popularity of ABBA songs,” he said.

There are 36 cast members in Warren Central’s production and five students make up the set and technical crew. Most are involved in the choral, theatre and art departments and from various school academies, Mapp said.

Students began rehearsals in December and unlike in years past, when they had a full three months to prepare for the show, this year they are having to pull everything together in just 10 weeks because of the inclement weather that kept students home in January. This has put a bit of strain on everyone, but WCHS theater instructor Caitlyn Jeffers, who is serving as the acting and blocking coach for the musical, said she is proud of how the students have risen to the challenge.

“The kids have realized that we’ve missed rehearsal time and have doubled down to make sure the show goes on,” Jeffers said. “Seeing them buckle down and help each other is exactly what theatre is about — teamwork and relying on each other helps these kids build positive connections, and potentially lifelong friendships. Being a part of that, being a part of the experience that these kids will never forget, is highly rewarding to me,.”

Sophomore Tye Moseley said that while preparing for a musical production in such a short amount of time has been “stressful” he was certain that with the help of the teachers involved, everything will “come out better.”

“I do think that Mapp, (Richard) Culpepper, (Cody) Nelson, and Jeffers are doing a great job, especially with it being Mr. Mapp and Mr. Culpepper’s first time being in charge of a production here at Warren Central,” Mosely said.

Jack Bond, a senior, concurred with Mosely when it came to having confidence in his teachers.

“I started off a bit overwhelmed with completely new casting and completely new crew and directors, with some downs, but with those downs came many more ups. Towards the end of this journey I’ve found a very joyful senior experience,” he said.

And having a positive experience from participating in a high school musical is something students can benefit from for a lifetime, music and vocal director of “Mamma Mia!” Richard Culpepper said.

“Being in a musical helps students to develop confidence, self-discipline, and self-expression. It also requires teamwork and collaboration as do most occupations so, this is great practice and an opportunity for students to take classroom and occupational concepts and put them into practice in a real-world context. And whether students pursue careers in the arts or other fields, they carry with them the lessons of teamwork, perseverance, creativity, and passion instilled through this experience,” he said.

Cody Nelson, who is serving as the choreographer for the musical, said Warren Central is “blessed” to have so many students who are “capable and talented,” and students who care about promoting a culture within the school that is supportive of one another.

“In a musical, students spend countless hours outside of class working toward a common goal — memorizing lines, learning music, and helping build their own set. These experiences and the time spent together work to foster not just a community within WCHS, but it also builds up each student to be a more open-minded, understanding, and hard-working young adult,” Nelson said.

Being part of a high school musical is a journey — one of self-discovery, friendship, and lasting memories.

“It means the world to me to be a part of something that will be my last for this outstanding and growing department,” WCHS senior Hailey Wells said of her involvement in “Mamma Mia!”

The opening performance of WCHS’s “Mamma Mia!” will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, in the school auditorium, 1000 Highway 27. Additional performances will be offered March 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. A matinee performance will be held at 1 p.m. March 2.

Tickets are $15, $10 for VWSD students (with ID), and $5 for ages 10 and younger and are available online at: or at the door. Online ticket purchasers will check-in at the ticket table.








About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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