The long running Broadway musical, Mamma Mia! is touring across America for its Final Farewell Tour. This weekend, it will make a stop at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, MD. The show which is based on the songs of ABBA, closed after a fourteen year run on Broadway. On this edition of INTERVUE, we have Lizzie Markson who plays Sophie in the musical.
Lizzie, it’s wonderful to have you here on INTERVUE!
Thank you, so much.
Can you first tell us about Mamma Mia!
It’s about a bride-to-be Sophie, whom I play, who wants to know who her father is. So, she finds her mother’s journal. She invited three men who could possibly be her father to her wedding unbeknownst to her mother or her fiancée. It’s really all about the chaos and the fun that ensues when these three men come to the island. All set to the contagious music of ABBA.
You described ABBA’s music perfectly. It is definitely contagious. I, myself, am a big ABBA fan. I have to ask… do you have a favorite ABBA song?
Related to the show or not?
Either or, it doesn’t matter.
What really gets my blood going are two songs. One is “Waterloo” because you must jam out to “Waterloo” and “Does Your Mother Know?” because that is so much fun in the show.
Very interesting choices, I must say. Tell us a little more about Sophie and why is it fun playing her?
It’s really a blast playing Sophie because she has this bright eyed, childlike optimism about her. I liked that she has the guts to invite three men and not tell her mom. She hopes that everything will go perfectly because it has to, right?
But of course, it does. I think that is what makes playing Sophie so much fun because she is filled to the brim with this hopefulness and optimism. She has to deal with reality hits and when her plan kind of unravels. I think feeling that everything is going to go perfectly and then having it come back at me every night is really fun and trying to hold it all together and hoping until I can’t anymore. It’s a good time to feel that hopefulness.
I read your Twitter bio and it stated that you describe yourself as a Storyteller, Adventurer and a Warrior-in-Training. I like to know why those three things.
Oh man, that came out of left field! A storyteller because that is what I feel is my primary job as an actress and as a performer. When I approach a role or anything in life, I think of the utmost importance of telling the story. I think that we’ll have the most impact on an audience. That’s what I get the biggest thrill out of my craft, my artistry. The storytelling is what I think is the most important. So, that is my job as a storyteller.
An adventurer because I’m always looking for an adventure especially on tour. Seeing the whole country and getting to explore the different corners of North America, United States and Canada.
And Warrior-in-training because I am on a constant quest to better myself as human. I always strive to be in tune with myself as a person and live with compassion and an open heart. You’ll never quite get to the place exactly you want to be so we are constantly in training.
All good answers which definitely describes you. I heard that this is your very first National Tour. Is that correct?
That is correct!
How is performing in a touring production different from performing in one place?
It’s different on so many levels. It’s a whole different beast. First of all, the travel alone between the shows is like its own world that you’ll have to adjust to. You know, like sitting on a bus for six hours and feeling that pain in your body & figuring out how to work with that to not let it affect your show. A lot of our days depends on when and where on the tour we are but there could be stretches of time where most of our days sitting on the bus traveling to the next place. So, that’s a challenge but also a thrill.
We also have different audiences everywhere we go which what keeps it really exciting. It’s cool to feel the different audiences’ energy and also to know that we are sharing this experience with people all over the country – not just one town or whoever can afford a Broadway ticket.
You mentioned earlier that you’re an adventurer who loves to travel. What is one place that you traveled to with the national tour, that you never been before, and never wanted to leave?
Calgary, Alberta CANADA
Really, how so?
I had no expectations for Calgary. I didn’t really know what it was like. It was very cool city. It was very walkable and super hip because I like where our hotel is for we are right in the downtown area. Lots of cool places to eat and it was surrounded by mountains. It was absolutely beautiful. The walks to the theater is over a river and an hour drive away is Banff National Park, which we got to go on one of our days off. It was just stunning and breathtaking. It was cool to be in a city surrounded by trees and the Canadian Rockies.
I have been to Canada as far as Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. You’re really convincing me that I should take a trip to Calgary one day.
Oh my gosh, it was amazing. I wish I had longer in Banff for it was just unreal
What was the moment that you realize that you wanted to be an actress?
I been dancing my whole life. Then, I started singing a little later when I was in middle school. Performing has always been part of my life. I think it wasn’t until high school that I got back into theatre. I saw an audition for “Aida” for they needed dancers. I thought “Well, I think I want to do that. For I have done theatre and I really enjoyed it for a while. When I was in that production, I had this feeling inside and realized that musical theatre is what I had to pursue. Nothing has made me feel all the feelings in every inch of my body like musical theatre did. That’s why I chose to pursue it.
What’s your favorite musical and what’s the one Broadway role that you would love to play someday?
I don’t have a singular favorite musical. I go through waves where I get hooked over different musicals and they are all that I listen and obsess and then I move on to the next one. I don’t have that one where is everything and I get lose into the story that I have recently seen. At one time, I was really obsessed with Bright Star” which recently closed. I love “Next to Normal”. I can always listen to “Next to Normal”. A role on Broadway right now?
It could be a past or a current Broadway production.
I would have to say Margo in “Bright Star” & on Broadway right now “Dawn” in Waitress”.
For people who have never seen a Broadway show, what would you say to convince them to come see Mamma Mia! Especially since this is the final farewell tour?
Mamma Mia is a night of two and a half hours of pure utter unashamed fun! I think that everyone can use that. What’s cool about the finale is that there are three numbers where everyone is dancing and singing in the aisles. You can just look out a see a little six-year-old girl who’s at her first show and then older people who grew up with the music of ABBA who are super excited and some guys who were dragged along and can’t help it but have fun. I feel that this is a unique experience and its special to Mamma Mia. I also feel that Mamma Mia is this phenomenon that people get so jazzed about this show because it’s so much fun. It’s such a perfect escape from whatever is going on with your life or in the world. This is the last opportunity to see it in this way in North America. So why not!?!
Why not, indeed!
Don’t stay at home and watch the Netflix shows, come out to a night of live theatre.
One final question Lizzie, if you can tell that person who is reading this interview to follow their dreams, what would you tell them?
Just check in with your heart and see if you are so passionate about this for the craft not for anything superficial, not how it makes your ego feel but how it makes your insides feel. If you love it with your whole heart, that to me is the most important thing to just realize whether or not you love it with every ounce of your being because if you do, you’ll be fine. You will love it all and you will know that anything that’s hard like the rejections or the failures is worth it. You’ll love it even when it hurts you. If you don’t love it with every ounce of you, it’s just not going to last.
We would like to wish Lizzie well as she continues as Sophie on her first national tour. If you like to follow Lizzie, go to her website at http://www.lizziemarkson.com and follow her on Twitter – @mizzielarkson
To see if Mamma Mia! The Final Farewell Tour is coming to your town, click over to www.mammamiaontour.com/