WSU Alum returns to Detroit for 'Mama Mia!'

By D. A. Blackburn

Growing up in suburban Detroit, Sean Allan Krill dreamed of a life on the stage. After moving to Shelby Township at the age of 12 – he was born in Oklahoma, and moved several times before settling in Michigan – Krill began nurturing his interest in the performing arts while at Eisenhower High School.
"I was involved in band and art and theater.
I played the trombone, and they were doing a production of 'Snoopy!!!,' and they needed someone to stand off stage with a mute and make the 'wah wah' sounds of the teacher. I did that and realized I wanted to be on stage, so I tried out for the next show and got cast in 'Once Upon a Mattress.'"
After graduation, he threw himself wholly into the arts, attending the theater program at Wayne State University before moving to Chicago in 1994 to pursue a career as an actor and musician. On February 12, Krill will return to Detroit, as Sam Carmichael in Benny Andersson and Bjoern Ulvaeus' hit musical "Mama Mia!"
Though Krill has been touring in the role for nearly two years, and will end his run with the production in Kalamazoo, which follows his Detroit appearances, returning home brings his dream full circle.
"The Fisher (Theatre) is very, very special to me. It's where I saw my first big show. It must have been 1989, when I was still in high school, I went to see a tour of 'Les Miserables.' I remember thinking 'Wow, this is amazing. I want to do this. Someday, I want to be up on that stage.'"
Krill has performed this role in more than 80 cities throughout North America since joining the tour, and notes, with obvious enthusiasm, that "Mama Mia!" has been exceptionally well-received by audiences. The show is a light-hearted love story, wrapped in the lush music of ABBA. It's a formula that has led to unprecedented success in terms of musical theater, and at one point, some 19 individual productions of "Mama Mia!" dotted the globe. Krill believes much of the show's popularity stems directly from the music.
"They've taken great pains in recreating that ABBA sound in the show. It was such a sensation at the time, in the 1970s, and I think it's one of the reasons 'Mama Mia!' has been such a hit. We go out there and tell a really fun story, and I get to see everyone in the audience up dancing and singing along."
As a long-time fan of the music himself, Krill has found performing in "Mama Mia!" very rewarding, but he's also proud to mention that his touring company has raised more than $1.5 million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
"It's been wonderful to see people all over the country open their hearts and their wallets and give their money for Broadway Cares. It's been really amazing to see such generosity."
Following his departure from this national tour, Krill, 36, plans to perform "The Comedy of Errors" at Chicago Shakespeare this April. At its conclusion, he'll relocate from the Windy City to the Big Apple with his partner, actor Guy Adkins.

'Mama Mia!'
Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. Tue.-Sun., Feb. 12-24. Tickets: $29.50-$73.50. For information: 313-872-1000.


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