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Singing her way across the country

Jennifer Weingarten Wingerter and Vince Wingerter photo by Danielle Barnum.

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Weingarten Wingerter brings a song on her lips to the Fisher Theatre next week.

She is cast in the ensemble and as the understudy of Donna and Tanya in "Mamma Mia."

The story is about relationships, a mother and daughter, friends and males and females, she explained. Using pop songs by Abba, the musical begins as the bride-to-be, Sophie, reads her mother's (Donna) diary in an attempt to discover who her father is. She invites three men mentioned in the diary to her wedding on a Greek island. Friends fly in for the wedding, including Donna's best friends, Tanya and Rosie. Together, they relive their musical past having been a trio, while Sophie learns about the three men from her mother's past.

"The best part is the music," Wingerter said, while traveling on a bus to Fort Myers, Fla. After performances in Sarasota and Clearwater, Fla., she and the cast travel to Michigan for Nov. 5 through 10 shows.

"I love this music. The music is so much fun to dance to. It tells a story and gets across a message. It's funny. It's a touching story. It takes (the audience) on a journey and ends with a rock concert."

After weeks of rehearsing in New York, the cast's first stop was in South Carolina to work out the technicalities. While under contract with the production company, Work Light, the cast travels from one end of the country to another, finishing up in June.

And after June, the 2002 Grosse Pointe North High School graduate, said she would either like to continue with this cast or move to another Work Light production, which she said, has a number of shows in the works.

"There are some wonderful shows coming up," she said.

For the immediate future, Wingerter is most anxious to return home to show the cast, including the show's band members, her home town. And just as important to talk with her father, Jeffrey Weingarten, an ear, nose and throat doctor. She said the cast would like to chat with him about all things voice.

"He's cured many a throat sore before a performance," she laughed.

Wingerter credits her parents with being supportive and encouraging of her passion before she was in school.

"I've been performing since I was little," she said. "I joined dance at 3 years old, the Grosse Pointe Children's Theatre at the age of 5. My parents have been supportive."

Her first stage appearance was in the ensemble of "Oliver" and progressed to the lion in "The Wizard of Oz," Annie in "Annie" and as Winnifred in North's production of "Once Upon a Mattress."

After graduating from North, Wingerter attended New York University earning a theater degree in 2006.

"I was very fortunate to get into New York University. It really gave me a footing in New York City. It can be terrifying if you don't live here. My first job right out of college was a melodrama in Cripple Creek, Colo., at 10,000 feet," she said.

Since then she has been traveling with shows, such as "Singing in the Rain," 42nd Street," "The Producers," "Oklahoma," Sound of Music" and Hairspray." She also worked with Celebrity Cruise line where she met her husband, Vince Wingerter of Seattle.

"I met him 4 1/2 years ago when working on the Celebrity Cruise," she said.

After a quick trip to Grosse Pointe for a September wedding, the couple hurried back to New York for more rehearsals prior to their first performances.

Wingerter said, "We've been able to perform together. We've been lucky."

For tickets, visit

BroadwayInDetroit. com or ticketmaster.com.

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