‘Mamma Mia!’ actor’s back, and you won’t believe how he’s aged

Steve Marcus

Victor Wallace, third from left, in his former role as twenty-something Sky, dances in 2003 with Jill Paice, right, in “Mamma Mia!” In his new role, he’s about 40.

Wed, Feb 20, 2008 (2 a.m.)

It’s a sordid affair, even by Sin City standards.

A young man runs away with his sweetheart — a vivacious woman in her early 20s. Two years later he returns and marries her mother.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, but Victor Wallace’s story is both truth and fiction.

It’s a little complicated, so bear with me.

First the fiction: Sophie is the illegitimate daughter of Donna, who had back-to-back affairs after ending a relationship with Sam. No one knows whether Sophie’s father is Sam or one of the other two men. As Sophie plans to marry her fiance, Sky, she wants to find out her father’s identity — so she invites all three men to the wedding. At the end of the story, Sky and Sophie run off into the sunset, with Sophie still ignorant of which man is her father.

By now, we all know the fiction as “Mamma Mia!”

Now the truth: When the musical debuted five years ago at Mandalay Bay, Wallace was Sky, the twenty-something fiance. He portrayed Sky for two years and then left to tour with other shows.

He rejoined the cast a couple of weeks ago, just in time for the celebration of the show’s fifth anniversary in Las Vegas. This time, Wallace plays the 40-ish Sam and ends up marrying Donna.

“I compare it to kids on a soap opera,” says Wallace, who’s 35, even though his age onstage is flexible. “They go away a couple of years, grow up and come back a generation older.”

He’s happy to be back with the musical, which is based on the songs of ABBA.

“It’s somewhat a deja vu. In many ways it feels like I was just here, but at the same time it’s a completely different show from one perspective,” Wallace says. “I’m basically in parts of the show I was never involved in before. In many ways, it’s a completely new thing for me, even thought it has a sense of familiarity.”

The show was scheduled to end its long run this summer, but has been extended through Jan. 4.

Wallace says it looks as if he’ll be Sam to the end.

“I feel like Sam is kind of the older version of Sky,” he says. “I think Sam sees this young guy, Sky, as reminding him of himself when he was younger and knowing what he knows, he now wants to bestow his knowledge on the young man — to not jump into anything without really thinking about the consequences. I approach the role in that sense. It works for me.”

After leaving the cast in 2006, Wallace toured for about a year with “Les Miserables.” Also on the tour was Don Brewer, who recently joined the cast of “Mamma Mia!” in Las Vegas. Brewer plays Harry Bright, one of the three possible fathers of Sophie.

Wallace couldn’t escape the Vegas connection after he left town.

Last summer he was in the cast of Franco Dragone’s work in progress, “Carmen” (based on Bizet’s opera about a hot-tempered gypsy woman), which had a test run at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. Dragone created “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas, “O” at the Bellagio and “Mystere” at Treasure Island.

“This is Franco’s first foray into musical theater,” Wallace says. “He has directed a new version of the story. The show still needs a lot of work, but it has so much potential. Working with Franco — as chaotic and crazy as it was — was a great experience. It was just amazing to work with a visionary.”

Dragone also has his eyes on Broadway. “But they want to get it right before they take it there,” Wallace says.

When “Carmen” ended, Wallace returned to New York and chased jobs. His agent called one day and said the producers of “Mamma Mia!” asked to see him for the role of Sam. He was elated.

“Even when I was playing Sky I always knew Sam would be a role that I could do,” Wallace says. “I thought back then if ‘Mamma Mia!’ stuck around long enough, playing Sam was something I would be interested in doing. I didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly, but I’m thrilled. It’s such a fun show to do.”