ABBA Magic! coming to Orangeville this weekend

March 2, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

This Saturday evening, March 4, the Orangeville Town Hall Opera House will rock with all the greatest hits by the famous Swedish group, ABBA. On stage, a group of four beautiful  people will be offering their version of the Swedes with their stories, anecdotes and, of course, singing those wonderful songs in their production of ABBA Magic.

In spite of being together for only a decade, producing some of the best remembered hits of the 20th Century, the music of ABBA still influences pop culture today very much. The famous musical Mama Mia, continues to be produced in theatres and the film in cinemas, to remind the world that ABBA wrote music the world loves.

The original Swedish group began their claim to fame in earnest in 1974 with Waterloo which won them that year’s Eurovision contest. Although, the Eurovision is not usually an influence on the American market, Waterloo still hit the Top Ten on the charts in the USA.

From there, such immortal songs as Dancing Queen, Fernando and Take a Chance on Me are only three of their long list of hits. By 1976, they were acclaimed as one of the most popular groups in the world.

Taking on this whirlwind success story are Joanna Arlotto as Agnetha, Hayley Brauer as Anni-Frid, Drew Chester as Bjorn and Jared Shapiro as Benny. They promise an evening of entertainment that will have you dancing in the aisles or rocking in your seats.

A telephone interview with Bill Culp, producer and promoter, gave a history of how the all-Canadian version of ABBA came to be formed. Like the originals, each of these four performers have solo careers, as well as the great time they have together doing the ABBA Magic concerts.

Ms. Arlotto and Ms. Brauer had been working all over North America, singing in musical theatre and some retro music work together. The two gentlemen, Messr’s

Chester and Shapiro were working independently in various productions. They all knew each other through one production or another, the music /theatre world being the closely knit society that it is.

It was Mr Culp who helped to bring the four performers together in this show of ABBA Magic, just about a year ago.

Said he, “It’s such a fun type of music – people like to dance, remember. Mama Mia uses the ABBA music and a lot of people of all ages love that show.”

Speaking of the eternal, as it seems, popularity of music from that last four decades of the 20th Century, Mr. Culp commented, “So much of modern music is not as melodic as music used to be; music is made up of many elements of which melody is one and when you lose one of those elements…Melody is pleasing, emotional and sticks in the memory.

“ABBA is great to dance to, great to listen to…”

Mr. Culp says the show this Saturday is interactive with the audience. “Yes, so much fun, encouraging people to dance in the aisles or wave their arms in the air – one night only.”

The group will sing all the favourites – Waterloo – their break-through song; Dancing Queen; SOS; Knowing You, Knowing Me, as well as many others.”

They will tell the history of the Swedish group from their early days to the eventual break up of the four who since then get together very rarely to see a new show as a tribute to their music.

On Saturday, they will fill the hall with humour and little known incidents that were part of the lives of the original ABBA through ten short years.

As musicians and singers, the four Canadians performers presenting ABBA Magic this Saturday are also very busy outside this show with their individual careers.

Busy their lives must be, for Mr. Culp informed us that they have this show booked into next year.

“These are talented musicians,” he declared – “they’re booked up all the time.”

“Come and see the show,” Mr. Culp encourages us all, “You’ll have a great time!”

ABBA Magic is on at the Opera House Saturday at 8:00 p.m. For tickets, go to the Opera House Box Office or call 519-942-3423.

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