Elena Ricardo: the dreamer Sophie from Mamma Mia


“Dancing Queen”, “I have a dream”, “Mamma Mia”, “Super Trouper”, “Voulez-Vous”, “Chiquitita”. Who has not heard some of all these ABBA hits? Who has not watched the movie with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried? And certainly who has not enjoyed the play on Broadway?

Elena Ricardo, who has developed a strong career on Broadway, being part of plays such as “Bring it On”, “Spring Awakening” or “Next to Normal”, portrays Sophie Sheridan on “Mamma Mia”.

Sophie is a young girl who is about to get married with Sky and the only thing left in her life is to find out who her father is. So she invites three possible candidates to her wedding to test them and her mother, Donna, who never wanted to talk about that theme.

In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Elena spoke about her beginnings, what does working on Broadway mean in her career and the most challenging role she has portrayed on stage.

How did you start acting and singing?

I started acting and singing when I was little but I never took it seriously until I was 16.  My parents were Broadway performers so I was always raised around it and had a great respect and fascination with it.  But I was very much involved in gymnastics so most of my time was spent competing. But once I got serious with musical theatre, there was no stopping my love for it.

How did you get the opportunity of being on “Mamma Mia”?

I auditioned for Mamma Mia when I first got to the city when I was about 20.  I had seen the show before and just sure that I was going to someday make my Broadway debut with it. I originally auditioned for the Sophie understudy on Broadway and was asked to be in the ensemble on tour instead.  After tour, I was asked to be in the Broadway ensemble and 10 months later, I got the chance to become Sophie!

How is it like portraying Sophie Sheridan?

Sophie is such a wonderful and lively young woman.  Her spirit is free and kind just like her mother and she just wants the world.  Finding out who her dad is, is the last piece that she feels is missing from her life.  She’s like all of us young women.  We want the world and sometimes feel that once we get that certain something that we desire, that everything will be ok.

mamma mia

The cast of “Mamma Mia”

How did you prepare yourself for the role?

I workout and take lots of different classes to keep myself fresh and healthy to play Sophie every night.  It’s a marathon doing the show, sometimes even twice a day so I pay close attention to how I feel and what my body needs to be able to give an awesome performance 8 times a week.  Lots of rest, vitamins, and liquids make all the difference!

Which of the roles you’ve portrayed was the most challenging?

Every role I’ve played has presented some kind of challenge for me.  It’s hard to identify which one was the “hardest”. Being in the ensemble of “Bring it On” the musical was the most physical show I’ve ever been a part of.  But playing Wendla in “Spring Awakening” presented a whole new emotional challenge that I had never faced before.  And Sophie is just hard all around! She’s on stage a lot and extremely energetic when she is so being able to do that for 2.5 hours can sometimes be difficult.

What do you like about being on stage?

There’s nothing like being on stage.  The lights, the audience, the band…I’ve yet to really find the words to be able to properly describe how incredible it feels to be on stage and to work on Broadway.  It’s an honor to be a part of such a special community of performers.  We get to make a living doing what we love and we’ve all worked extremely hard to get to where we are so there’s an unspoken sense of respect that we all have for each other.

Do you have a dream role? Which would it be?

I have so many dream roles! But I’d honestly be so content just working consistently in this awesome world of theatre whether I’m a swing, understudy, or principal.  Every show on Broadway is a dream show for me.

Samantha Schuster