By Jill Diver
It is probably not often that an aspiring actress’ first role out of college is in a well-known Broadway hit. But that is exactly what happened for 22-year-old Liana Hunt, who plays Sophie Sheridan in “Mamma Mia.”
“Mamma Mia,” the musical based on the songs of ABBA, is in its eighth year on Broadway and currently headed to the Boston Colonial Theatre with Broadway Across America.
The script, which also was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep, is about an independent single mother, Donna, whose daughter, Sophie, is about to get married on a Greek island where Donna owns a small hotel.
The story plays out as Sophie, who does not know her dad, searches for her father. After reading through her mother’s diary, she invites three of the men she assumes might be him. All three come to the wedding and spend the remainder of the show trying to figure out who, in fact, is Sophie’s father.
Meanwhile, all three men fall back in love with Donna.
“I have so much fun playing her every night,” said Hunt, who recently joined the cast of “Mamma Mia” and is part of the traveling performance.
“She’s energetic and fun loving. And I identify with her, though she’s more impulsive than I am,” the actress added.
Plus, she said, she’s having fun putting her own spin on Sophie.
“I tried to bring my take to Sophie, when I replaced a past Sophie,” she said. “She is so close to my age.”
Her favorite moment is opening with “Honey, Honey,” Hunt said.
“I got to create that number with a few girlfriends in the show,” she explained. “There’s a handshake we do. And we have guidelines, but we do what feels natural to us.”
With such big musical numbers to work with, the directors of “Mamma Mia” ask the actors to create the specific ABBA sound that audiences can connect with.
ABBA, a pop band, enjoyed popularity in the 1970s, with hit songs including “Take a Chance on Me” and “Dancing Queen,” among others.
“People find that they relate to all the characters in the show,” Hunt said.
Though Hunt has been performing since she was a child and honed her acting skills at New York University, she still feels the journey onto the Broadway stage has been surreal.
“We have a lot of actors who travel with their families,” Hunt said. “There is such a big age difference and experience difference in our cast members. I’ve learned so much from them.”
She said audiences seem to really enjoy the final moments of the performance.
“The best parts of the show are at the end with the mega mix,” Hunt said. “We get to see the whole audience and we get to see their reactions to the show and the music.”
What: “Mamma Mia” by Broadway Across America.
Where: Boston Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St., Boston.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 15 through Tuesday, Dec. 27. Times vary. Check Web site.