Kellie Rode's dream came true when she landed a role in Mamma Mia! three years ago. She had just graduated from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) when she was chosen to play a swing performer with the original Australian cast of the popular musical. Not long after that, she rose to play one of the main characters - Sophie Sheridan, a 20-year-old bride who is about to get married on a Greek island. 'It's like a dream come true. Mamma Mia! is my professional debut and I'm thrilled to be part of it,' says Rode. 'Sophie is a young and positive bride and I enjoy playing her. There is a lot of heart in the show. We are like a big family.' While Rode was completing her music theatre degree at the WAAPA, she began understudying several roles during the Melbourne season of the Abba-inspired musical. 'It was kind of a baptism of fire, being my first gig out of WAAPA,' says Rode. 'But it was awesome. I knew nine roles in the show - all the female ensemble, including Sophie.' Rode finally got her chance to play the young bride when the actress playing Sophie in the Melbourne production left the musical. A review by New Zealand internet news agency Scoop praised Rode's performance during the musical's run in Auckland, saying: 'From the moment the curtain is raised, Rode captures her audience ... It's a flawless delivery. Mamma Mia! is a show of strong - even hilarious - characters, but Rode ensures Sophie is the jewel.' In the musical, Sophie finds that there is one thing missing from her dream wedding: a father to give her away. Her mother Donna is tight-lipped on his identity, so she secretly reads Donna's old diaries and invites a shortlist of possible dads. The magic of Abba's timeless hits provides the driving force for this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, written by British playwright Catherine Johnson. 'It is really an amazingly wonderful show,' Rode says. 'We love Abba's music and so do the audience. Everybody gets up and dances at the end.' Before entering the WAAPA, Rode studied at the Ballarat Academy of Performing Arts for two years. During her theatre training there, she performed in a variety of plays, starring as Abigail in The Crucible and the title role of Iphigenia in the Greek tragedy Iphigenia in Aulis. While studying at the WAAPA, she built up an impressive list of musical credits that include the role of Mary Flynn in Merrily We Roll Along, as Renie McKenna in Summer Rain and as the romantic lead K.C. Downing in My Favourite Year. 'So far I've performed in Mamma Mia! in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and we last finished our season in Auckland, New Zealand,' says the 26-year-old, who is originally from Melbourne. 'It's my first time in Hong Kong and I love this city and am enjoying my time here. We'll still be here for another seven weeks so I will take some time to look around.' The Australian cast will fly to Singapore after the Hong Kong performances before returning to Brisbane and Melbourne for more shows.