Mamma Mia – A Musical based on the Timeless Songs of ABBA
by Mike Cowell
Mamma Mia! is a popular jukebox musical featuring original ABBA songs, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The Swedish pop group ABBA, formed by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, had created a mark in the history of music by topping charts from 1974 to 1982 in Europe, North America and Australia. In fact the catchy title of the musical is based on the group’s 1975 hit song ‘Mamma Mia.’
The musical was initially conceived by Judy Craymer. ABBA’s song “The Winner Takes It All” inspired Judy to think of a musical performance based on the group’s hit songs. In 1983, she met songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and discussed about her idea, which finally took the shape of ‘Mamma Mia’ musical. The idea paid off and it proved to be a hit with the people! ABBA’s songs were adapted as a stage musical and it debuted in London’s West End in 1999. ABBA’s fans couldn’t have asked for more. The musical features hit songs like “Super Trouper”, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “Thank You for the Music”, “Money, Money, Money”, “The Winner Takes It All”, “Mamma Mia”, “I Have a Dream” and many more.
Mamma Mia! has various international productions. The Broadway production, which ended in September 2015, made an impressive 14-year run, making it the eighth longest running show in Broadway! In London, the musical has completed 17 long years and still attracts people. After all, it features more than 20 of ABBA’s original songs which people love to sing and dance along. The show had premiered at the Prince Edward theatre in 1999, transferred to the Price of Wales Theatre in 2004 and since 2012 it has been running successfully at Novello Theatre in London. Theatergoers can easily purchase Mamma Mia! tickets online and book their favorite seats.
The fascinating musical weaves ABBA’s iconic songs from their songbook into a sunny, funny tale set on a Greek island paradise. Mamma Mia! is about a young girl Sophie who is about to get married and wishes that her father gives her away. The catch is that Sophie doesn’t know the identity of her father. She invites three men from her mother’s romantic past for her wedding, and this leads to a chain of hilarious events. The story reflects love, friendship and romance, and is beautifully narrated through ABBA’s legendary songs, which leaves the audience singing and dancing.
Known as ‘the ultimate feel-good show’, the smash hit musical is produced by Judy Craymer, written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, and directed by Phyllida Law. These three ladies joined hands together with universal Pictures to produce a film based on the musical. The movie stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth among others. The film was released in the year 2008, under the same name and it became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year!
ABBA’s amazing songs continue to weave their magic in Mamma Mia! Musical and captivates the audience with hits from the mid-70s. Mamma Mia is one of the few musicals that have run for more than 10 years both on Broadway and West End. If you are a music fan, then Mamma Mia! is a must-watch show!