HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!! Live Theater is slowly preparing its road to reopening in 2021. It has just been announced that the legendary long running smash hit MAMMA MIA! is set to reopen its inaugural original production in London's West End beginning this Summer!!! Those DANCING QUEENS are set to re-strut their stuff at London's Novello Theatre beginning June 7th, 2021.
Tickets for the returning party are on sale NOW!!!!!
MAMMA MIA's reopening in London will also mark as the 2nd production of the show to reopen around the world. This past July 2020, it reopened in Japan for a strictly limited engagement. It was also performed with extreme safety COVID-19 precautions.
In case anyone may have forgotten or not know, MAMMA MIA is set at a villa on a Greek Island. The story follows "Sophie Sheridan", the daughter of the taverna's owner "Donna Sheridan" who is about to get married dreaming of wanting to walk down the aisle with her father. However, there's one problem…… "Donna" has dated 3 men around the same time. In attempt to find who her possibly father is, she invites them to the wedding. Along the way, drama unfolds!!! The show features a book by Catherine Johnson along with the notable greatest hits of ABBA (written by Benny Anderson and Bjørn Ulveaus). Notable tunes include HONEY HONEY, the title song itself MAMMA MIA, DANCING QUEEN, LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME, SUPER TROUPER, THE NAME OF THE GAME, VOULEZ-VOUZ, SOS, THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL, and more.
MAMMA MIA goes all the way back to the 1970’s-early 1980’s with the legendary Swedish group ABBA. Their music went on to top the pop charts in Europe, Asia, and both North and South America. The journey of creating the musical originally began in 1983. Producer Judy Craymer first heard the ABBA classic THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL. She immediately listened to more of their greatest hits believing their songs can actually tell a great story. Craymer first met members Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (while developing what would become their cult musical CHESS) to discuss the possible idea of using ABBA songs as part of an original musical. At first, they were not enthused and refused the idea. A few years later, Anderson and Ulvaeus changed their minds. From there, Craymer hired Catherine Johnson to write the book along with Phyllida Lloyd to direct the show. It went through a few years of early development readings and workshop labs.
Many of the early predictions for MAMMA MIA caused a lot of confusion or figuring out what the plan of the show is. Many of them thought it was a musical version of a 1968 film BUONA SERA, MRS. CAMPBELL. That film also contains the same storyline of a woman trying to find out who her real father is (out of 3 men). It was also set in Italy (which many people thought would be a great fit because of MAMMA MIA also being a popular Italian term). However Johnson denied it being inspired by that film. The story of MAMMA MIA: THE MUSICAL (as we know today) is set in Greece on an Island. Wasn’t a carbon copy at all.
The show had its official World Premiere in London’s West End in the Spring of 1999. It began at the Prince Edward Theatre before later transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre (2004-2012) and the Novello Theatre (2012-Present). Today even before COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural West End production of Mamma Mia! was still playing to packed sold out houses within the past 21 years. Under the direction of Phyllida Lloyd and choreography by Anthony Van Laast, the original London cast was led by…
Siobhán McCarthy as “Donna Shereidan”,
Louise Plowright as “Tanya”,
Jenny Galloway as “Rosie”,
Lisa Stokke as “Sophie Sheredian”,
Hilton McRae as “Sam Carmichael”,
Nicolas Colicos as “Bill Austin”,
Paul Clarkson as “Harry Bright”,
Andrew Langtree as “Sky”,
So many replacements have come in all within the 21 years its wowed London.
The inaugural production was nominated for 4 Olivier Awards in 2000 winning only 1 for BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (for Jenny Galloway).
With the success of the original London production, the creative team prepared to bring the show overseas to North America. It had its North American debut with a World Premiere run in Toronto, Canada playing the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The Toronto company stayed there for 5 years. Meanwhile, plans were already made to bring the show to Broadway. Before heading to our New York City backyard, the show made its USA debut with a limited engagement pre-Broadway tour in 3 cities consisting of….
San Francisco, CA at the Orpheum Theatre,
Los Angeles, CA at the Shubert Theatre,
Chicago, IL at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
Each stop of this pre-Broadway tour played for 3 ½ months.
Finally in the Fall of 2001, MAMMA MIA officially strutted her stuff arriving at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (2001-2013) before later transferring to the Broadhurst Theatre (2013-2015). The Broadway company ran for an incredible 14-year run of 5,773 performances total becoming the 9th Longest Running Show in Broadway History. Under the direction of Phyllida Lloyd and choreography by Anthony Van Laast, the original Broadway cast was led by…
Louise Pitre as “Donna Shereidan”,
Karen Mason as “Tanya”,
Judy Kaye as “Rosie”,
Tina Maddigan as “Sophie Sheredian”,
David W. Keeley as “Sam Carmichael”,
Ken Marks as “Bill Austin”,
Dean Nolen as “Harry Bright”,
Joe Machota as “Sky”,
So many replacements went on to join the cast and wow audiences during its 14 year run.
The Broadway production of MAMMA MIA was nominated for 5 Tony Awards in 2002 including BEST MUSICAL. However, it lost all of its categories.
MAMMA MIA went on to become a worldwide phenomenon with productions everywhere. There have been several North American touring companies, 2 sit-down productions in Las Vegas, and many international productions everywhere. The show has been performed in more than 50 countries and on 6 continents. Its notable story and ABBA songs have been translated into every major language. The show has been seen by over 70 million people worldwide.
Along with its success on stage, MAMMA MIA! went on to wow audiences as an acclaimed movie musical. The film adaptation was released from Universal Pictures in 2008. Under the direction of Phyllida Lloyd, it featured a full all-star cast led by….
Meryl Streep as “Donna Shereidan”,
Christine Baranski as “Tanya”,
Dame Julie Walters as “Rosie”,
Amanda Seyfried as “Sophie Sheredian”,
Pierce Brosnan as “Sam Carmichael”,
Stellan Skarsgard as “Bill Austin”,
Colin Firth as “Harry Bright”,
Dominic Cooper as “Sky”,
The film version went on to become an instant smash hit at the Box Office. It went on to be nominated for several Awards including 2 Golden Globes for BEST PICTURE and BEST ACTRESS (for Meryl Streep). Its film soundtrack also went on to be nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award for BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK FOR A MOTION PICTURE.
With the success of the film, a musical sequel was made and released 10 years later. The film entitled MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN was a combination of both a sequel (centering on “Sophie” about to have her first child balancing now being the owner of the hotel of her late mother) and a prequel (centering on the life of “Donna” in her early years, her arrival on the Greek Island, and her first meetings with “Sam”, “Bill”, and “Harry” (The 3 Possible Father’s of “Sophie”). It featured a mix of some of the notable ABBA tunes from the first film plus additional more of their greatest hits as well. Under the direction of Ol Parker, the cast reunited the main original principal cast (Streep, Baranski, Walters, Seyfried, Brosnan, Skarsgard, Firth, Cooper, & more) reprising their roles. It also featured several new cast members consisting of….
Lily James as “Young Donna Sheridan”,
Jessica Keenan Wynn as “Young Tanya”,
Alexa Davies as “Young Rosie”,
Jeremy Irvine as “Young Sam”,
Josh Dylan as “Young Bill”,
Hugh Skinner as “Young Harry”,
Andy Garcia as “Fernando”,
Cher as “Ruby Sheredian”.
The film went on to become a huge Box Office smash grossing more than $395 million in its first week.
Another MAMMA MIA sequel is in the works. However, it's currently delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll see what’s gonna happen with MAMMA MIA 3.
Back to the original MAMMA MIA, along with its continued success in London’s West End and around the world (even before COVID-19 pandemic), the show is also being performed in your local Theaters with various schools, Community, and Regional Theaters everywhere.
Who is excited for this fABBAulous show to return?!!!!
Mamma Mia! has announced that it is set to resume performances in the West End's Novello Theatre on 7 June 2021.
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