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"Mamma Mia!," the ABBA jukebox musical that orbits young bride-to-be Sophie as she invites her three potential dads to her Greek island wedding, is not the kind of show one necessarily expects to yield revelatory insights.

But as I watched Tuesday's opening of the rah-rah 25th anniversary national tour that runs through Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, I was struck by a quaint idea: it's not always damning for something to become a parody of itself.

In fact, the excesses of the show, especially in the first act when the performers use broad, over-the-top physical comedy to complement their singing and dancing, gives the musical much of its glee.

And it is precisely because Phyllida Lloyd's production doesn't take itself too seriously that we get taken in and taken away by a riptide of beats and emotions. By the end, "Mamma Mia!" lands on its own island of sweetness and heart.

Twin Citians can't seem to get enough of this story put together by Catherine Johnson — with recent productions at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and the Ordway Center. We decided to change our approach to seeing it through, well, the eyes of someone with intimate knowledge of the show.

Joshua James Campbell, who was raised in Shoreview, was in the resident Las Vegas company of "Mamma Mia!" from 2005 for 13 months, playing Sky, fiancé of Sophie (Alisa Melendez). He also acted in the ensemble of the Ordway's production.

He joined us for the show's opening night performance and this is our reflection on it.

RP: I did not know if this production would be up to snuff and, in fact, feared that it might be cut-rate.

JJC: It's the exact same production from Broadway and the tours. I can picture my former castmates in the exact costumes that they wore. But it is definitely pared down. We had automation but all the actors are moving their own sets here. I guess that is what has to happen on the road.

RP: Without waving a feminist flag, it's really about women's empowerment. Donna made the choice to be a mom and she's done well.

JJC: It really is. Watching that bedroom scene with the three moms as they gab and flash back to all their joy, that's the heart of the show. And it's infectious so that even if you walk in with a bitter attitude, it kinda gets you.

RP: "Mamma Mia!" has iconic scenes that are well-executed here, like Donna and the Dynamos singing in their bell bottoms, Sophie chopping it up with her girlfriends, and Sky and his friends in scuba suits. Did you have to get buff for that part?

JJC: Yes. The funny thing is for the audition, I never took off my shirt, so they had no idea what I looked like underneath there. They accept all body types in the show but for some roles, you have to look a certain way. For Sky, it's buff. For Tanya, the millionaire divorcee, it's svelte. And [as with Rosie] there's always the funny friend who can be any size. It's similar with the three dads [architect Sam, banker Harry and writer-adventurer Bill] — the safari guy can be a little bit bigger but Sam has to always be hunky.

RP: Showbiz is so reliant on showcasing women's bodies for the audience's pleasure, that it's surprising that the parade here also applies so heavily to the men.

JJC: Being an actor, your body is your instrument. I was 24 at the time, just a kid, like a lot of the young people in this cast. And to have people commenting on what I could change about my body was tough. For a while, the role gave me total body dysmorphia about what I was supposed to look like.

RP: How has the show aged to you?

JJC: Well, what's interesting that I never caught before is that it takes place around 2001, for Sophie's born in 1980. So, everyone is doing the math about that right now.

RP: There are other things that date it. Can't Sophie find out the identity of her dad with a DNA swab?

JJC: That would eliminate the whole premise of the musical. Sometimes theater takes itself too seriously. This is a show that you can analyze but no one really knows why everyone loves it. It makes you wanna dance and root for people. Come on, there's a megamix at the end. People want to have fun.

RP: The sound is huge. It sometimes reminded me of a concert hall or a thumping nightclub.

JJC: One of the things that people don't realize is that everyone is singing live backstage to create that big sound. We had full-on booths that we had to sing in.

RP: I know that some audience members were warned against singing along, but that didn't stop folks from talking back to the actors, especially Christine Sherrill, who played Donna, and Jalynn Steele and Carly Sakolove as the other two middle-aged dynamos reliving their glory days. What did you make of the singing?

JJC: There were moments when some of the leads were oversinging a little bit but then again the audience really loved it. When Donna has to go through the three songs at the end — one with her daughter, one with Harry and then the 11′o'clock number — that's a rough gantlet. Every Donna has to build the show her way because every song could be a powerhouse number. She floated at the beginning and things were light, in her head voice. But it was obvious she was leading to "The Winner Takes it All."

RP: I saw some tweaks in some of the language references. And Donna's vocal stylings occasionally suggested "American Idol." Do you remember the dads' codpieces being so prominent?

JJC: Hmm, yes. But it's fundamentally the same show from 20 years ago, and I'm glad to see it again. It's "Mamma Mia!" What a blast.

'Mamma Mia!'

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat., 1 & 6:30 p.m. Sun.

Tickets: $39-$169.