A GoPride Interview

Victor Wallace

Meet Mamma Mia!'s Victor Wallace; beloved musical returns to Chicago for three weeks

Wed. May 1, 2024  by Matt Inawat

I'm just so grateful and I get to see every night how much joy it brings the audience
Victor Wallace

victor wallace

Mamma Mia!'s Victor Wallace; beloved musical returns to Chicago for three weeks

Mamma Mia!, the iconic musical that continues to enchant audiences worldwide with its irresistible charm and timeless tunes returned to Chicago this week. The 25th anniversary of the stage production will play at Broadway in Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre (24 W. Randolph St.) over the next three weeks for a limited engagement.

Mamma Mia! premiered in London in 1999, and on Broadway in 2001 where it played for a record-breaking 14 years. The musical was then turned into two record-breaking movies, "MAMMA MIA! The Movie" and "MAMMA MIA! Here We Go Again."

The ultimate feel-good show, which been seen live on stage by 65 million people across the world, Mamma Mia! is a tale of a mother, a daughter, and three possible dads on a Greek island paradise, all unfolding to the storytelling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs.

In this exclusive interview, we chatted with the incomparable Victor Wallace, whose magnetic stage presence is set to steal hearts once again as Sam Carmichael (one of the three "dads") in the national tour of the Mamma Mia! musical. Wallace previously played the roles of both Sky (the young boyfriend) and Sam - from Las Vegas company to the final Broadway cast - over the span of the last two dedcades.

MI: (Matt Inawat, GoPride) Congratulations on the success of Mama Mia - multiple times around for you! That's just absolutely amazing!

VW: (Victor Wallace) I first did the show as Sky; I only did the first two years and then I returned to that same company to close that company as Sam. And then the Broadway and now this. I even squeezed in a regional production.

So I've definitely have had a lot of Mamma Mia in my life. But it's with love; it's always been such a great gift. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

MI: How does it feel to reprise Sam Carmichael for the national tour?

Jim Newman (Bill), Victor Wallace (Sam), Rob Marnel (Harry); credit: Joan Marcus

VW: I am having such a great time revisiting this. I think maybe because I'm older now - I just turned 50 last year. I feel like I know this role so much better; or it's just evolved with me. I've had more life experience to bring to it now so it feels so meaningful also. I guess my history with the show has given it more weight. There are so many lines in the show that I'm always referring to from 21 years ago; and actually 21 years ago I started rehearsing Sky in Mamma Mia.

So it's like this weird art imitating life kind of situation. Just revisiting the show especially after the pandemic, and those several years not working, this show means so much to me and brings so much to me that I'm just so grateful and I get to see every night how much joy it brings the audience.

I don't know if I'll ever be a part of something this again, this kind of phenomenon. It's, it's really wonderful and we're truly spoiled. We're spoiled to have sold out audiences on a consistent basis.

MI: Do you approach the role differently this time around?

Victor Wallace; credit: VictorWallace.com

VW: Every time I do it, I try to bring fresh eyes to it. So much will depend on what I get from my, my acting partners. It was fun to discover those new relationships because it's different actors playing these roles with whatever they're bringing to those roles. You could you find so many nuances and different discoveries and relationships on stage.

Being more mature this time around, I definitely feel like I just get things from the script that maybe I didn't discover before - when I had done it when I was younger. And certain things resonate more with me than they used to for sure.

MI: The show has been a fan favorite for decades. What do you think is the secret to its enduring appeal?

VW: Well, it's definitely the incredible music of Abba for sure.

But I think because of the story that was created using that music, the themes are so universal. It's about friendship and really good friendships;  and love and heartbreak and second chances and hope. It's just all those delicious things about life that we all go through. So there's elements of that in the story that I think anybody can identify with. And then you throw in these songs that take you through the journey and that makes it that much more fun.

MI: Right! So can you share a particularly memorable moment from your time performing in Mamma Mia?

The Company of MAMMA MIA! 25th Anniversary Tour; credit: Joan Marcus

VW: When we closed the show on Broadway - Sam's big song is "Knowing Me, Knowing You" - and that final audience on Broadway was an invited audience of alumni and super fans. It was a celebration of the show and how long it had run. And so when it came to that moment in the show, "Knowing Me, Knowing You," you know, the "uh. uh huh" the in the background vocals; well, the entire audience was my back backup vocals singing that song.

So, it's a relatively serious moment for Sam in the show. But it was such a joyous feeling from the audience; and having the entire house singing back up was kind of incredible. So I'll never forget that for sure. And closing it on Broadway was a bittersweet and incredible thing to be a part of. I thought that actually it was where my journey was going to end with Mamma Mia.

MI: And it's really just started, as now you're making your way everywhere in this tour.

VW: It's really great and it's actually really wonderful to tour with the show because I had only done the Vegas sit down and the New York company. So a lot of people that I know across the country didn't get to see me do the role on Broadway. So this has been like a second chance for so many friends and family to see it.

MI: One day when you retire from Mamma Mia, what are some other musicals you admire that you'd love to be a part of?

Jalynn Steele (Tanya), Christine Sherrill (Donna), Carly; credit: Joan Marcus

VW: That list is always kind of changing. I've never been a part of a Sondheim show. I love Sondheim. Maybe a role like Fredrik in "A Little Night Music" would be something I'd like to sink my teeth into.

MI: What kind of advice would you give to aspiring actors who dream of performing in a long running musical?

VW: It's takes discipline to be in a long running show and to keep it fresh for yourself every night. My advice is you've got to take care of yourself. You've got to let yourself, your body, rest when you can. You need to sleep, you need to stay hydrated. Because it's very easy every night to just think you could just come in and do the show; but you do need to maintain your instrument.

MI: That's a great tip!

VW: And my advice to young performers - you've just got to keep at it and hone your craft and be aware that there are a lot more rejections - you get a lot of closed doors or a lot of nos before that one yes arrives. But I think if you have the passion for it and you love it and it brings you joy, you've got to just remember that someday the stars will align and something will happen for you.

MI: You're in Chicago for a few weeks. Is there anything on your top things to do list while in the Windy City?

Victor Wallace; credit: VictorWallace.com

VW: I definitely like to find little niche eateries or a good locally made donut. Or a good Chicago pizza. I love finding a craft bar situation, martini lounge situation; things that aren't so popular but a place that has maybe good entertainment where you can have a conversation. And then there's Sidetracks in Boystown.

I haven't done a lot of the Chicago museums and every time it's always something I wanted to do, but I need to make that more of a priority because Chicago has a lot to offer.

MI: Let's do some rapid fire questions. Shout out the first thing that pops into your head for each of these.

First one is: name a favorite book or toy when you were a child.

VW: Legos.

MI:  Name something in your home that would make a stranger think you were straight.

VW: See, this is telling in itself. Maybe a bartender mixology kit?

MI: Name something in your home that might make a stranger think you were gay.

VW: My Wonder Woman collection. I grew up with Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and it it's always been a strange fascination.

MI: Who would play you if your life story were developed for the big screen?

VW: That's, that's a tough one I would say. I've been told sometimes that I resemble that guy from the Gilmore Girls. Milo Ventimiglia. We'll say him.

MI: Victor, thanks so much - see you and the cast on stage in Mamma Mia!


Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:00 p.m. (with Wednesday matinee at 1:00 p.m. on May 8 and May 15), Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. (with an additional performance on Sunday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m.)


Individual tickets for the 25th Anniversary Tour of MAMMA MIA! are on sale now and range from $82.50 - $182.50 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. For more information, visit BroadwayInChicago.com.


Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 24 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Auditorium Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.


Interviewed by Matt Inawat. Ron Matthew Inawat is president of the GoPride Network and contributes to ChicagoPride.com, PrideLA.com and other sites within the GoPride Network.