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Get ready for 'Mamma Mia' frenzy: Here we go again!

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Cast and production crew of "Mamma Mia" which begins a long run at the Rochester Opera House on Thursday. (ROH Facebook Page photo)

ROCHESTER - Steve Small of Rochester is no stranger to putting on big-time productions like "Mamma Mia."

The 30-year theater pro directed mega-hits "Chicago" and the mod musical "Shout" for Rochester Opera House in the recent past.

For the next week he'll be putting the final touches on what may be his biggest challenge yet, the blockbuster hit with a cult-like following that is "Mamma Mia."

"It's big challenge to do a show involving music people are familiar with," Small said on Thursday. "There are certain expectations with anything with ABBA. Expectations are higher."

Small will debut the Rochester Opera House production on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with a 20-member cast that is putting in long hours six days a week to forge what they hope will be another triumph for the storied theater.

But Small said he'll be trying to serve two masters during the show's two-week run: first, to celebrate the joyous music of the '70s and '80s Swedish supergroup; and secondly to pay homage to the story behind "Momma Mia," which he says shows the concept of love from a generational prism.

"I fell in love with this script," Small said. "People think it's going to be two hours of ABBA music, which is great. But this script looks at love through the eyes of two generations: the young looking at love with all their hopes and dreams; and then the older generation trying to protect their hearts and not get hurt."

He said the dichotomy works beautifully.

"If you like the music, you'll love the play," he said.

So get ready to hear a lot of ABBA, watch some big dance numbers and cry to some tender ballads.

Did I mention "Waterloo," "Dancing Queen," "Take a Chance on Me" and of course, "Mama Mia?"

Thursday's preview is followed by a two-week run that ends Jan. 27.

The Rochester Opera House is sponsored by TD Bank North, Eastern Propane, Shaheen & Gordon P.A., and Norm Vetter Foundations. This show is sponsored by Studley's Flower Gardens and The Rochester Voice. For ticket purchasing and more information, call (603) 335-1992 or visit www.RochesterOperaHouse.com.

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