By Sam Watson
DAN Moldrich is directing the music in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s production of Mamma Mia.
And there are high hopes the show will kick off soon if the lockdown ends, as planned, on Thursday at 11.59pm, but it’s best to follow the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group on Facebook for the latest information.
Dan played piano for Pippen in 2015 and has done other bits and pieces in other shows and, in 2018, he moved over to Leongatha Lyric Theatre to musically direct Annie.
He also filled in for musical direction for Young Frankenstein but now he’s back with Wonthaggi for his first gig as musical director at the group.
Dan, who is the music coordinator at Wonthaggi Secondary College, was musical director for the school’s recent production of Honk.
He had vowed not to do two musicals in one year, but last year’s lockdown meant Mamma Mia would be rescheduled for 2021 and he ended up with two musicals opening in less than a month.
But he’s still very excited to help bring ABBA’s songs to the stage.
“It’s been a great process from start to finish,” Dan said.
Before the show, Dan considered himself a moderate ABBA fan.
“I enjoyed their music, but I wasn’t someone who knew all their songs and knew all the trivia.”
But he believes that’s made it even more fun because it’s given him a reason to dig a little deeper into the songs.
And he thinks once the show’s over, he’s going to be like everyone else in the group and get sucked right into their music.
“You can’t resist the joy of ABBA.”
His wife Fiona, who also been involved with the group in the past, is an ABBA fan but she’s even put up a sign in their kitchen deeming it an ‘ABBA-free zone’.
When Dan brings band members over for rehearsals, he sometimes sees his wife pointing to the sign in the kitchen.
But he thinks she’ll come around pretty soon.
“She’s been helping out in the theatre.”
Fiona usually plays the reed instruments in the pit for WTG but they aren’t required in this musical, so she can have a year off and help the group in other places.
“I guess like everything else with the show, it’s very much a family thing.”
Dan was extremely proud of the rise in confidence amongst many cast and band members since the start of the process.
“You can’t take the teacher out of me and what I love the most is people pick up skills,” Dan said.
“I’m proud of everyone but especially the people that are less experienced in singing and are giving it a go.”
“Seeing them move on from being super scared of it to being super happy to jump in there and really go for it, that’s really special to me.”
And he loves the musicians he’s getting the chance to work with on the production.
“It’s just such an amazing bunch of musicians from the community.”
“It’s a real buzz to everyone involved and we’re looking forward to sharing it with everyone.”
“Just do it,” were Dan’s words to anyone who is still on the fence about buying tickets.
“It’s amazing. You’ll have the greatest night out ever.”
“I can’t give away too many secrets but let’s just say that people find it hard not to sing at the end of the show, you just get sucked into it.”
And he said it’s a perfect remedy for anyone who feels like they’ve missed out on fun thanks to the pandemic.
“If you want a night of just pure joy and fun, you can’t go past a production of Mamma Mia.”
He encouraged more people to get involved in the “really amazing and vibrant” local arts community.
“I’d just really encourage everyone to take advantage of those opportunities.”