SPIN Theater presents 1440 Minute Musical

Mamma mia, there they go again! SPIN Theater was back in the CFA Saturday, February 19, to present their annual 1440 Minute Musical. After being shown in an online format last year, the doors to Jewel Theatre were thrown open to present Mamma Mia!, which actors only had 24-hours to rehearse.


The cast arrived at Studio 2 in the CFA at 8 p.m. on Friday night, learning after months of speculation what the show would be and in what roles they were cast. The eager crowd erupted in applause as the show was revealed, and the performers got right to work learning the words and music. Co-director Philip Royer (‘22) shared what made Mamma Mia! the right choice for the 1440.


“We had twenty-three musicals, and from those we narrowed it down to three,” Royer said. “We read all three, listened to the music, and watched all three shows. We gave pros and cons for each, we had a discussion, and after much deliberation we came to the conclusion of Mamma Mia!.”


The decision seemed to be a popular one, as the line to get into the limited-capacity show stretched the length of the CFA more than an hour before the doors opened. The line eventually wrapped up to the second floor, which led the production team to count off those in line and started turning away newcomers. Attendee Anna Schultz came from out of town to watch some friends perform, and was able to grab a seat before they ran out.


“I was not expecting a line like that,” Schultz said. “But I thought it was really cool to see all the students at Luther coming out to support the arts.”


The packed theater laughed and sang along as the cast performed ABBA’s greatest hits – some more accurately than others. When their memories failed, the improv that replaced their lines was accompanied by laughter from the audience, who expected it as 1440 tradition. Performer Sophie Nall (‘22) played the character Sophie Sheridan, and described how anticipated  imperfection is one of the many unique features about performing in the 24-hour musical. 


“It was so stressful, but a really good exercise in imperfection,” Nall said. “I usually am really prepared when I perform, but this setting forces you to abandon that mentality and just have fun instead of worrying about knowing everything – because you just can’t!”


Nall closed out the performance with a solo onstage, singing ABBA’s “I Have a Dream” as the lights and sound faded. As “Dancing Queen” blasted back through the speakers for bows, the audience leapt to their feet and congratulated the cast on 1440 minutes well spent.


The production is the last live performance from SPIN Theater for now, but this Sunday, March 6, they will be collaborating with the Luther College Shakespeare Society for a virtual reading of  Shakespeare’s Mad Women: A Love Letter to Shakespearean F*ckboys. The event starts at 12 p.m. in Olin 102.