TAYLORSVILLE — Cast members of Taylorsville Arts Council's production of "Mamma Mia!" practiced their blocking — literally — in a crosswalk Saturday, entertaining drivers as they sang and danced in the street.
During the mini-play inspired by the popular "Late Late Show with James Corden" and his "Crosswalk the Musical" segments, the actors waited for red lights at the intersection of 4800 South and 4685 West to run into the road and jive to Abba's hits.
Some, like Benjamin Nordby — an urgent care doctor by day — wore shiny, 70s-style jumpers and glittery platform shoes.
"I was expecting more angry drivers, but I don't think anyone flipped us off, so it was fun," Nordby said after entertaining passersby with cartwheels and handstands, all done while wearing the 5-inch platforms.
As Saturday morning traffic rolled by, many cheered and waved from their cars. A small dog stared out the window at the actors, apparently fascinated. A passenger held her phone up through the sun shade and filmed. Drivers of utility vehicles honked their horns in support.
Some, however, drove by with blank faces, seemingly confused or simply out and about too early for a Saturday.
"I think it's going a lot better than I planned. We have a lot more people coming up and down the street, and people are having fun. And that's what I hoped for. But you never know," said Susan Holman, a producer and co-chairwoman on the Taylorsville Arts Council who had the idea to put on a crosswalk play.
"I think they're all having fun watching it, we're getting good participation from the people here, so it's a really fun thing."
She thought they should try it because "I watch James Corden and I love him. He's so funny. … And when they do (the crosswalk segments), it just makes me laugh so hard, so I said, 'You guys, we should do this.' And people weren't sure if we should do it," Holman said, laughing.
She asked the Unified police's Taylorsville precinct for permission, and though the police officers she talked to had never heard of Corden's "Crosswalk the Musical," she got permission and officers to stand by.
"We do our plays pretty cheap. We're one of the cheaper communities, and we just want families to come out and have a good time. … But the important thing is to have an audience there and to get people to love the arts, because so many people can't afford to take their kids to things. And we do it cheap, and we clean it up a little, so it's good for the community. That's why we do it, that's why we put all this time into it," Holman explained.
As the hour-long mini-play progressed, she said she was pleased "people don't think I'm crazy for wanting to do this."
After the final number, at the play director's request, the two police officers turned on their sirens and chased the actors out of the intersection with "mean faces."
The play is Nordby's second, and he got the role of "Harry," one of main character Sophie's potential fathers. He got a week off from the hospital to act in the full version of the show, which runs next week.
He says he discovered his passion for theater in what he called a "mid-life crisis."
"I'd never done theater, ever, and the thing that terrified me more than anything was performing on stage, so I started taking voice lessons, and I did my first show last year," Nordby recalled.
While running in the clunky shoes was difficult, the acrobatics were a breeze, said Norby. A one-time college gymnast, "I've always been a big ham. I love to perform. So any time I can go off and do some flips or cartwheels, I do it."
If you go …
What: Taylorsville Arts Council's "Mamma Mia!"
When: July 15-20, 8 p.m.
Where: Salt Lake Community College Redwood Road Alder Ampitheater, 4600 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville
How much: $8 individual tickets, $30 family pass