Mamma Mia! is a British musical written by playwright Catherine Johnson and based on the hit songs by 70s Swedish pop group, ABBA. Two former members of the band, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus composed all of the songs for the musical which are songs previously recorded by ABBA, and they were involved in the development of the show since its beginning. Mamma Mia! originally opened in the West End in 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre, but transferred to the Prince of Wales in 2004. As of September 2012, Mamma Mia! is currently playing at the Novello Theatre.
Mamma Mia!, although taken from ABBA’s chart-topping single of the same name, is not a biographical tale of the group, but a fictional story set on a Greek Island about a daughter’s journey to discover the identity of her real father. The musical features all of the famous songs from ABBA such as ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Thank You for the Music’. In 2008, a movie version of the musical was released and featured highly-acclaimed actors such as Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Julie Walters.
The role of daughter Sophie, seeking out her real father is played by Charlotte Wakefield, with her mother, Donna, being performed by Helen Hobson who has also played Mrs. Johnstone in Blood Brothers. The role of potential father number 1, Harry, is played by Neil Roberts, potential father number 2, Bill, by James Gaddas and number 3, Sam, by Gary Milner.
Show Length and Times
Mamma Mia! evening performances begin at 7.45pm from Monday to Saturday. Matinees are at 3pm on Thursdays and Saturdays. The show lasts for 2 hours and 35 minutes with a 15 minute interval.
“Catherine Johnson’s witty and ingenious script weaves the famous ABBA songs around characters you care about. At the end the whole audience is on its feet and swaying blissfully along to the hits. What a pleasure to see that girl, watch that scene and dig the Dancing Queen.”
Charles Spencer at the Daily Telegraph
“A production of tremendous warmth, vitality and technical excellence that offers an evening of unbridled fun. It is a tribute to the scriptwriting skill of Catherine Johnson that the ABBA songs are slotted so naturally into the storyline. While being swept along by the ingenious choreography and witty dialogue, I found myself examining ABBA’s music in a new light.”
David Sinclair at the Times
“One of the brightest, funniest musicals playing anywhere in the world right now.”
Mark Shenton at the BBC
Videos and Photographs
Below is a video of the London cast of Mamma Mia!
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the hair and make-up of Mamma Mia!: