MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site

MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIEABBA World presents the new MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site, with everything you need to know about the upcoming film – cast, release dates, posters, trailers, website links, news, reviews and more.

In latest MAMMA MIA! news, there is a new poster (see right), the CD soundtrack cover and tracklist have been released, official movie websites have been updated with all new interactive content, premiere dates have been changed or cancelled, and a new television documentary is on the way.

You can find the details of all this and much more at the MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site.

MAMMA MIA! opens in cinemas around the world from July 2008.

 

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6 Responses to “MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE mini-site”

  1. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    Here’s articles/interviews on some of the casts of ‘Mamma Mia!’

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) – Sunday, 6 July 2008 (Page 111)

    INSIDER – Spotlight

    Heady days with a super trouper: Amanda Seyfried found herself guiding a screen legend. By David Murray

    The last thing Amanda Seyfried expected in her lifetime was to be giving acting advice to Merryl Streep.

    But this was the unusual scenario when the pair came together for the film version of ‘Mamma Mia!’, the smash hit stage show set to ABBA’s music.

    “She knows that people are so intimidated by the idea of her,” says Seyfried, 22, star of teen comedy ‘Mean Girls’ and edgy television drama ‘Big Love’. “So she shot that down immediately. She said, ‘We love you in our house!’

    “She’s so kind. She just hugged me and we just talked about how nervous we were to sing and record with (ABBA stars) Benny and Björn.

    “I found myself saying, like, ‘Don’t worry!’

    “I don’t know if that’s just the way she is or if she was kind of manipulation the situation to make me feel better but, whatever it was, it was nice.”

    The film’s cast have had no rest recently.

    Last weekend they returned to Greece, where the film was shot, for the official launch.

    This week Streep and her co-stars, Colin Firth and Dominic Cooper, arrive in Sydney for a press conference on Tuesday followed by the film’s Melbourne premiere the next day.

    Seyfried always had her heart set on following in Streep’s footsteps and, if the screen adaptation of ‘Mamma Mia!’ receives anything like the reception its stage incarnation did, she may get the chance.

    ‘Mamma Mia!’ is on a different level to anything Seyfried has done before, with the Stellar cast including Streep, Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stelan Skarsgärd, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.

    The film sticks to the formula that has struck a chord in every country where it has appeared as a stage show, weaving together ABBA’s famous songs into a simple, good-hearted story.

    Seyfried plays the role of exuberant bride-to-be Sophie, raised on an idyllic Greek island by her free-wheeling hippie mother Donna (Streep).

    Sophie has never known who her father is but, when she stumbles on her mother’s old diary spanning the year of her birth, she comes up with three possible suspects (Brosnan, Firth and Skarsgärd).

    She invites all three to her wedding, figuring she will recognise her real father on sight.

    Meanwhile, her mum has a reunion of her own planned, with her former girl band mates – joker Rosie (Walters) and man-eater Tanya (Baranski) – jetting in for the nuptials.

    Streep is the backbone of the film and her youthful radiance on screen makes it almost unbelievable that she is 60 next year.

    In one scene she even leaps into the splits, a move she says was a spur-of-the-moment thing when she thought, ‘I wonder if I can still do this?’

    “I’d wake up like an eight-year-old – I was so excited,” Streep said.

    “I don’t remember the last time I felt that enthusiasm.”

    Her recruitment to the show is the stuff of legend.

    Usually the one to receive fan letters, she had sent a thank-you note to the cast of New York’s ‘Mamma Mia!’ stage show after taking her 10-year-old daughter and her friends to see it.

    “From the minute that started, they never sat in their seat,” Streep says. “They were up and bouncing and so was I and so were the old ladies on my right and the whole family of tourists on my left.”

    “I thought, “This is a great thing; this has real power to engender happiness and remind us of how joyous it is to be alive and how great it is to be a human being.”

    But the women behind the musical kept Streep’s thank-you note and when it came time to make the movie they approached the screen legend.

    She responded simply: “I am ‘Mamma Mia!’”

    More than 30 million people have seen the stage production in 170 cities since it opened in London in 1999, generating $US2 billion in ticket sales – and counting. In Australia, one in 10 people are said to have seen the stage show.

    The film will draw on that fan base but also has the potential to attract a whole new audience, not least those keen to see Streep, Brosnan and the other big names test their vocals and make fools of themselves in some outrageous outfits.

    The inspired storytelling also means that audiences needn’t have seen the stage show or even be an ABBA fan to enjoy the film.

    Seyfried gained her part because she could hold a tune. She had vocal training between the ages of 11 and 17 and says music was “the first thing I connected with in my life”.

    Her singing talents gave her a rare confidence that she would win the role.

    “For the first time in my career I actually thought there was a chance, because I’m usually pretty negative,” she says.

    “And it just goes to show how positivity can bring not luck … but the confidence can really help you out a lot.”

    That was despite knowing virtually nothing about ABBA, who had split up years she was born.

    She drove to Las Vegas with her former boyfriend to see the ‘Mamma Mia!’ stage show for the first time just two days before her audition.

    “I was like, “this ABBA music … I recognise it but I don’t know how,” she says.

    “I think it’s just like being a child and hearing the radio and not knowing what it is.”

    She admits she “fell in love with it right away”, although it’s hard to imagine the reaction among the cool Los Angeles set when she drives around these days with ‘ABBA Gold’ blaring from her car – “especially when I’m in a good mood.”

    If the movie goes to plan she may just get cooler overnight.

    But with mega-fame within her grasp, she surely won’t end up like some of her more wayward L.A. contemporaries.

    Although the red carpet and a celebrity lifestyle beckon, Seyfried says she has learnt from the mistakes of her ‘Mean Girls’ co-star Lindsay Lohan.

    “She was really young when she got famous and she didn’t know who she was, for sure,” Seyfried says of Lohan, who has become tabloid fodder.

    “it was sad because I feel like if she had just had a couple of years before things got crazy she could have handled it completely differently.

    “She loved the attention and I think if I’d been her age I would have loved it, too.

    “I learnt from Merryl Streep that a really important element to having fame and being an actor is to separate your personal lie and your job.

    “Merryl’s built her career based on what she does on set in front of the camera, where she’s respected because of the parts she plays, not who she is.”

    ‘Mamma Mia!’ opens Thursday.

    Photos: (1) Mega-fame beckons: Amanda Seyfried plays bride-to-be Sophie in the film version of ‘Mamma Mia!’ (2) Lucky break: Seyfried with Dominic Cooper. (3) I do, I do, I do: Donna (Meryl Streep) takes charge.

    Sunday Telegraph Magazine (Sydney) – Sunday, 6 July 2008 (Pages 27 & 28)

    Super Trouper – Is Colin Firth a pain in the Darcy? Colin Firth’s latest all-singing, all-dancing role is a world away from Mr. Darcy. Actor Colin Firth may have become an accidental heartthrob on the back of one TV role, but he’s happy to wear that if it keeps him working in movies – even if he has to sing for his supper. By Joanne Hawkins

    When Colin Firth was 33, a theatre reviewer sniffed of his performance in some long forgotten play: “Colin Firth doesn’t have enough romantic charisma to light a 50-watt bulb. He’s too long in the tooth to play the romantic stuff.”

    Ironic, considering just two years later, Firth took on the role that would firmly establish him as a romantic hero – not to mention transform his career. As the brooding Mr Darcy in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Firth was a revelation.

    For many, he will be forever known as Austen’s Fitzwilliam Darcy and, despite having claimed in the past the role actually typecast him (“I put me in a box”), he’s now resigned, if a little bemused to the hysteria Mr Darcy still generates.

    “I still find myself wondering why anyone would find me sexy,” muses the now 47-year-old. “I know that people did go mad and thought I was some kind of sex symbol – especially when I came out of the lake – but I’d never thought of myself as sexy.”

    Hampshire-born Firth went on to forge a varied career off the back of Mr Darcy. But despite tackling many different roles – such as his stint as a Roman commander in ‘The Last Legion’ and a hapless education minister in St. Trinian’s – it’s as the slightly repressed but deceptively sexy, oh-so-English romantic lead that we’ve come to love him best. There was the clever reincarnation of Mr Darcy (this time called Mark) in the two ‘Bridge Jones’ films, the cuckolded-writer in ‘Love Actually’ the dumped artist in ‘Hope Springs’… You get the picture.

    While perhaps a little frustrated that these roles overshadow his other work, Firth is shrewd enough to realise it’s his popularity in these films that keeps the other roles coming. “Any appreciation you can get is not only flattering, it’s also currency in terms of getting roles and staying employed in this business,” he explains earnestly.

    “I just feel I must be doing something right. People want their work to be liked. If you’re still doing it after 20-odd years – and people aren’t sick of you – then it can only be helpful and pleasing really.”

    Firth is sitting in a plush hotel suite overlooking London’s Horse Guards Parade to discuss his latest cinematic outing – the-big-screen adaptation of the smash-hit ABBA musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ He appears relaxed, friendly and self-deprecating – a bit of a change from when I’d interviewed him on the film’s set at Pinewood Studios last August, when he seemed distracted, tired and, dare I say it, a little pompous.

    Then again, he had just spent the day gingerly singing and dancing to countless takes of ABBA’s ‘Voulez-Vous’. He plays banker Harry Bright, a former lover of Merryl Streep’s character (Donna), who may or may not be the father of her daughter, Sophie. (Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgärd play the other potential dads.) The role seems a bit of a departure for Firth (“That’s the word I’m hearing most often about everything I do; I’m in danger of being typecast in departures,” he jokes), but he isn’t sure.

    “I’m still playing an Englishman struggling with repression,” he says laughing.

    Firth admits he wasn’t immediately keen on the role. “I wasn’t particularly attracted to it – I’d never seen the show and no straight man of my generation would put up his hand as being an ABBA fan. But then I found out that Merryl Streep was doing it and Julie [Walters] and Stellan, which added up to a group of people I’d love to work with.”

    So Firth agreed to boldly go where he’d never gone before – and showcase his singing and dancing ‘skills’ on the big screen. But he’s under no illusions as to his talents. “Pierce, Stellan and myself were not hired for our dancing skills – that’s quite clear. Nobody auditioned us,” he says.

    “They picked us on the basis that we were going to be three middle-aged-men dancing and singing in whatever capacity we were able to offer. They could have hired John Travolta or Patrick Swayze, but they chose us. It’s funny to put people who are hopeless on the dance floor.”

    He won’t be watching the end results, either. “Oh, God no. There’s nothing worse. I don’t know if it’s vanity or modesty, or whatever, but I don’t think actors like watching themselves. You just have to trust that it comes across more sympathetically to other people than it does to you.”

    Firth did enjoy the chance to go spend a month on the idyllic Greek islands of Skiathos and Skopolos, where ‘Mamma Mia!’s’ exterior scenes were filmed last September, especially as his family (Italian wife of 11 years Livia Giuggioli and their sons Luca, 7, and Matteo, 4) came along for the ride.

    “What’s not to like? We were filming in a place that anyone would choose for a holiday. In a way I felt as if it was piracy, really – taking the money. It was called ‘work’ but it was really just a holiday.”

    Although known as the archetypal Englishman. Firth has spent a fair chunk of his life living and working overseas. As a child, his family spent time in Nigeria, and the US, as a result of his teacher-parents’; academic postings.

    His time in Missouri, in particular, cemented a surprising love affair with the country. “When I was a child, my father took us on a drive across the States,” says Firth. “It was the most incredible thing. It sort of challenged my life, because I feel in live with the whole country. I couldn’t live there because I love London. But the idea of being metaphorically lost for a while, in the States, in the mountains or something, definitely still appeals.”

    In his 20s, he did sort of lose himself in the mountains – albeit in Canada’s British Columbia – for a while. After meeting actor Meg Tilly on the set of 1989s ‘Valmont’, the pair fell in love and relocated to a remote log cabin to raise their son, Will, now 17. After the pair split, Tilly and Will moved to California, while Firth returned to London.

    “We have a very close relationship says Firth of his eldest son. There’s a great difficulty with distance, but we’ve managed to cope.”

    This month also sees Firth back on the big screen in something quite different to ‘Mamma Mia!’ – the emotional family drama ‘And When Did You Last See Your Father?’ firth plays real-life poet Blake Morrison (the film is based on Morrison’s memoir), who is struggling to make sense of his difficult relationship with his dying father.

    It’s a moving film, and Firth admits it made him appreciate his close relationship with his own family. “My parents were incredibly affirming, almost too much so, making me feel I was brilliant and special,” he says. “I believe them then, and I still do.”

    He tries to be a good father himself. “That’s the aim. No single event ever changes you as much as when you become a dad.”

    A “show-off” in his teens, Firth says he became interested in acting “intoxicated” by the attention he received for appearing in school plays. “I was always quite interested in plays and poetry, and what good actors seemed capable of. I was less and less interested in the [career] options teachers were presenting to me. You know, ‘Get a job, get an apprenticeship – do something nine-to-five,’ which didn’t seem very exciting. Whereas this other world, which was to do with drama and the written word, was much sexier.”

    So he rejected University (“I allowed myself to be derailed into moody adolescent laziness”), moved to London and landed a job on a theatre switchboard while waiting for his big break.

    That came when he meet a casting director who helped him get into drama school and then into the West End play (and then the film) ‘Another Country’ which also stared Rupert Everett, although the pair famously didn’t get on. Firth downplays talks of a 20-year feud, saying they’ve since worked quite happily together on the films ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’ and the recent ‘St Trinian’s.

    By and large, his choice of career has lived up to his adolescence ambitions. “Like everything, once it becomes the day job, it has its ups and downs, and disappointments and banalities. But, yes, I’m glad I chose it. It frequently offers fantastic experiences.”

    That said, he says he’s not particularly ambitious.

    “Not for the great acting roles, no. I don’t feel I’m someone who must give my [King] Lear before I expire. But I have to say, these past 18 months have offered me some of the most interesting and satisfying work I can remember doing for a long time.”

    One downside of being an actor is the attention from the paparazzi, although Firth – unlike that other English actor of a similar age, Hugh Grant – seems to slip under the snoops’ radars.

    “I don’t think I’m very interesting,” he laughs.

    “I don’t think I’m very interesting,” he laughs. My life is pretty run-of-the-mill – I a family and not much changes. It did happen to me around the time I married, because I guess they saw that as a story. It was pretty soon after ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and they chased us around a bit. Then at around the time ‘Bridget Jones’ came out, there were photographs of me in the park with the kids.”

    He pauses. “I was absolutely disgusted by that, actually. I was just a dad pushing his kids on the swings. To think there’s someone hiding in the bushes with a lens, when you think you’re on your own, it’s pretty revolting.”

    Away from work. Firth admits to making a “mean curry”, but says, “I have small children, that’s pretty all-consuming when I’m not working.”

    He’s also a part-time shopkeeper, having opened Eco – Britain’s first ‘ecological destination store’ – with his wife, brother-in-law and a friend in West London. “Rather than being a luvvie with a lofty opinion, preaching to people, I prefer to be involved and put my money where my mouth is,” he explains.

    Our time is drawing to a close, so I ask Firth if he would ever reprise the Mark Darcy character for a third time. “The first film was like a pastiche of the character in a way, and it was very hard to stretch that any further [in the second], so I don’t know if he can stand being reprised. But maybe if enough time elapses and those characters were to come back in deteriorated state of advance old age or something, it might be quite fun.”

    But, for some, he will always be the other Darcy, the one who emerges from lakes in a wet shirt and breeches. “People can remember me for what they like,” he smiles. “I can’t remember it very well any more. It was 13 years ago and I’ve done so much since, but if it’s an emblem of some kind to some people, then that’s perfectly all right with me.”

    Unless, it’s bad for your health that is. He tells me a story about a fan aged 103 who was reportedly hospitalised after repeated viewings of Firth in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ caused her blood pressure to rise.

    “Her doctor told her not to watch it anymore,” he chuckles. “I don’t know if the story can be verified, but I found that rather charming.

    ‘Mamma Mia!’ in cinemas July 10. ‘And when Did You Last See Your Father?’ is in cinemas July 31.

  2. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi IAN

    Here’s an inteerview with Judy Craymer.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Australian (Sydney) – Wednesday, 9 July 2008 (Page 16)

    The irresistible joy of pop: The creators of stage musical Mamma Mia! retained their rights and re-imagined it for the screen. By Michael Bodey

    Musical theatre continues to find new, if not exactly fresh, life in the jukebox. Attempts to turn a band or songwriter’s canon into a fluffy piece of stage entertainment fail more often than not, given the disparate nature of many pop songs.

    The outlandish plot of Ben Elton’s ‘We Will Rock You’ – a space fantasy using Queen’s song list – was a prime example. And last month, London’s West End hosted the debut of ‘Never Forget’, a musical based on the songbook of boy band Take That.

    But one juke box musical stands above them all. This week’s release of the film adaptation of ‘Mamma Mia!’ emphasises the point.

    It was hardly an organic idea to squeeze the songs of 1970’s Swedish supergroup ABBA into a breezy musical about a second chance at love on a Greek island.

    But the musical’s knowing book and joie de vivre, combined of course with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’s irresistible tunes, have generated a musical to savour.

    As the musical – created by Judy Craymer, written by Catherine Johnson and directed by Phyllida Lloyd – approaches its 10th anniversary on the West End (seven years on Broadway), it can count 10 current international productions. At one point, there were 19 versions playing around the world.

    This week, ‘Mamma Mia!’ comes to the screen, with Meryl Streep as the boisterous lead Donna, joined by Christine Baranski and Julie Walters as her former girl-band singers, and three of her ex-lovers, played by the very marketable Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård.

    Today, such a combination appears to be as close to a box-office guarantee as a Harry Potter film. But Craymer admits ‘Mamma Mia!’s’ stage success was so consuming that a film version was almost an afterthought.

    “It certainly wasn’t part of the master plan,” she says. “In fact, taking the musical around the world wasn’t part of the master plan.”

    Craymer, Johnson and Lloyd only acceded to requests to make a film three years ago.

    It was fast-tracked when they hooked up with Gary Goetzman, Tom Hank’s producing partner at Playtone, and then with Universal Pictures.

    One thing was clear, though: Craymer’s trio would retain control. “We’d never wanted to sell the rights or let go of control of it, so hopefully the timing’s right,” she says.

    Previously, stage producers were loath to adapt stage musicals for cinema while a show was playing because it could cannibalise the audience. The successful 2002 film adaptation of ‘Chicago’ changed that perception. But Craymer adds: “You can go the other way, and you can go too late. ‘Evita’ (a 1996 film version starring Madonna) came too far after the show,” she says. As did the 2004 adaptation of ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’

    “While we were all still standing,” Craymer says of her creative partners, “we thought we might as well get on with it.”

    ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ is one of many adaptations that didn’t escape a certain staginess on screen. Craymer argues ‘Mamma Mia!’ is slightly different. “This is definitely a film. When I started the stage show or had the whole idea, the challenge was not to be the story of ABBA but to make the story out of the lyrics.”

    She says the objective was not to make the stage show as a film, rather to make a film in its own right. And on film, she believes the ABBA tunes “explode as the soundtrack”, rather than merely drive the narrative.

    To be fair, the film doesn’t truly kick into gear until its clumsy first half-hour passes. The establishment of characters and story takes some time to jell with the always tricky job of warming the audience to a film musical.

    But a glorious, sweeping rendition of ‘Dancing Queen’, by cast members – led by an unexpectedly free-spirited Streep dancing around the island – sets the joyful tone. A musical film set on a Greek island could hardly be bound by its stage version.

    “The film is meant to be pure fun – and it was, really – although the responsibility of making a film is not fun,” Craymer says. “But the film was exciting and you could see you’re not restricted.”

    Nevertheless, on one hand the stage version’s structure limited the team’s possibilities. “One has to be careful that the film still comes back to the heart of the story and the songs and characters driving it,” she says.

    “And the show is 2½ hours with intermission, yet the film has to be 100 minutes, so you had to be economic in different ways and you had to tell things differently.”

    Consequently, some songs have been cut from the screenplay while others, including ‘Knowing me, Knowing You’, have been moved. And the relationship between Donna (Streep) and Sam (Brosnan) has been embellished, particularly with the addition of ‘When All Is Said And Done’, from ABBA’s ‘The Visitors‘ album.

    Then there’s the cast. Any cast containing the names Streep, Firth, Brosnan is guaranteed a sizeable audience and a commitment from any studio.

    Craymer says she knew if she was to make a film, Johnson would write it and Lloyd would direct, despite their relative inexperience, so the marquee names had to come in casting. “I know Phyllida had never directed a major movie, but she had never directed a major musical either,” Craymer says, laughing.

    “But she loved scale and we all agreed that we wanted movie stars. Of course, the studio obviously encouraged that Meryl was very much on our wish list and once we got her, life took its shape.”

    Craymer knew Streep was familiar with the musical; the 14-time Academy Award nominee (and dual winner) wrote a letter congratulating the Broadway cast after seeing ‘Mamma Mia!’ in 2001.

    And as all the actors have since noted, the sell on this film was irresistible. “We’re going to be singing ABBA songs on a Greek island, how bad can it be?” Craymer says.

    The musical has proven its cross-cultural resonance already, with German and Japanese stage versions in addition to its many English-language productions.

    Craymer agrees that its cinema life will be a different test, primarily because the film industry, for the most part, is geared towards satisfying young men, not older women.

    Craymer appreciates that younger viewers are the driving force of cinema box office.

    “I think this will attract, like the show does in a way, a cross-generational audience; I mean, it is a date movie,” she says.

    “Yes, it’s obviously not ‘Hellboy’ or ‘The Dark Knight’, but it has an appeal to everyone really. It’s not just for girls, but because it’s humorous and it’s tongue-in-cheek, boys can cope with the sexy romanticisms of it.”

    ‘Mamma Mia!’ opens tomorrow.

  3. anja `94 Says:

    i am really happy because abba is again together in premiere!!!

  4. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Universal_CityWalk_Summer_Block_Party_Free_Movie_Screenings_Launches_With_MAMMA_MIA_72_20090702

    Thursday, July 2, 2009; Posted: 11:07 AM – by BWW News Desk

    Universal CityWalk celebrates the launch of its “Summer Block Party,” a FREE summer marathon of music and movies, with tonight, Thursday July 2nd’s FREE movie night presenting the blockbuster “Mamma Mia!” on the large outdoor screen on Cinema Plaza. Prior to the movie screening, guests will also have an opportunity to sing-along and dance to timeless ABBA tunes.

    Universal CityWalk’s “Summer Block Party,” a FREE summer marathon of music and movies, kicks into high-gear with non-stop entertainment, featuring top tribute band concert performances, the ever-popular free outdoor movie night, all-new swing dance lessons and star-turning talent competitions through August 30.

    More information is available at http://www.CityWalkHollywood.com

    Thursday, July 2 at 7:30 PM – ABBA Sing-Along begins, at 8:00 PM – Mamma Mia! Screening begins. The events take place at Universal CityWalk on the Cinema Plaza Stage 1000 Universal City Plaza, Universal City.

    An unprecedented worldwide box office phenomenon, Mamma Mia! The Movie has already been proclaimed the fastest selling DVD of all time in the U.K. after first-day sales reached 1.6 million units, surpassing the previous decade-long record holder Titanic on November 24, 2008 by over a half-million units, or 50 percent of total sales.

    Inspired by the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s sunny, funny tale of family and friendship unfolds on a tiny Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Songs including “Dancing Queen”; “The Winner Takes It All”; “Money, Money, Money” and “Take A Chance on Me” are all featured in this feel-good night of fun and laughter.

    Produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East and Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal, the creative team responsible for bringing MAMMA MIA! to theatrical life includes some of the most gifted and celebrated talents of musical theatre and opera. With music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine Johnson and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. MAMMA MIA! has choreography by Anthony Van Laast, production design by Mark Thompson, lighting design byHoward Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material and arrangements by Martin Koch.

    MAMMA MIA! plays on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway) Tuesday through Saturday at 8p, Sunday at 7p, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2p.

    Ticket prices range from $62.75 -$121.50, including a $1.50 Shubert facility fee. Tickets are available by calling the MAMMA MIA! hotline at (212) 563-5544/(800) 432-7250; in person at the Winter Garden Box Office or online at http://www.telecharge.com/mamma-mia and http://www.mamma-mia.com

    For more information about MAMMA MIA! around the world visit: http://www.mamma-mia.com.

  5. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    An interview with Bjorn Ulvaeus on ABBA, ‘Mamma Mia!’the musical… Interesting.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2004/04/07/1082729.htm

    Abba rules out reunion – at any price

    Posted Wed Apr 7, 2004 8:36am AEST
    Updated Wed Apr 7, 2004 10:25am AEST

    Thirty years to the day after Abba shot to stardom with victory in the Eurovision song contest, the pop group says nothing – not even $2 billion – could tempt them back together again.

    In fact, songwriter Bjorn Ulvaeus has revealed that 30 years on, the Swedish supergroup might even have trouble remembering the words of their pop classics.

    Ulvaeus, 58, says nowadays the sight of the group’s outrageous stage outfits is enough to make him cringe.

    He remains fiercely proud of Abba’s music but swears they will never strut their stuff again.

    Four years ago, Abba was offered $1 billion to re-group. The answer was ‘no’. But what if that figure doubled?

    “No, not even if you did that,” Ulvaeus said.

    “It is never going to happen again. I think it is a bit too long now. We split up in 1981. People haven’t seen us as a group since then and it would come as such a disappointment to them.”

    Spangly jumpsuits

    As for the spangly jumpsuits, Ulvaeus said: “I haven’t squeezed into them for years.

    “I still had a couple of them in the wardrobe and would get into them on a Saturday evening – but not any more. They are in a museum now.”

    Abba’s songs may be staple fare in karaoke bars around the world but Ulvaeus says he would need prompting.

    “I cannot remember a whole lyric of any that I have written,” he confessed.

    “I am translating them into Swedish now for the first time because we are doing a production in Sweden at the beginning of next year.

    “I find that I don’t know them by heart – not one of them.”

    The 30-year anniversary is the group’s second milestone of the week. The musical Mamma Mia, which is based on their hit songs, has celebrated five years playing to packed houses in London.

    Three of the band’s four members gathered for a reunion in London to mark the anniversaries.

    Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad attended a gala event at the theatre where the musical is being staged but Agnetha Faltskog opted not to attend.

    The blonde singer has lived as a recluse in Sweden since Abba split up in 1983, despite recording her first solo album for almost two decades this year.

    The Mamma Mia show could prove even more profitable than the 350 million Abba albums sold around the world.

    “It’s possible,” Ulvaeus said. “Mamma Mia is going to run for a longer time than Abba did. So who knows? We will see.”

    Money, Money, Money

    The show certainly generates Money, Money, Money.

    With 11 productions currently running and six more in the pipeline, it has grossed more than $980 million worldwide and has been seen by more than 10 million people.

    In box office takings, it should effortlessly exceed the $1.3 billion mark set by Phantom of The Opera.

    The musical weaves in Abba’s back catalogue to tell the story of a single mother living on a Greek island with her daughter, who is getting married.

    Reading her mother’s diary, she finds that any one of her mother’s three lovers could be her father. All get invited to the wedding.

    Ulvaeus believes the timing for the show was perfect.

    “I think the world perhaps was ready for something happy, a comedy,” he said.

    “The big musicals in the ’80s and the beginning of the ’90s were rather sombre – like Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables – wonderful musicals but of a different kind.”

    Ulvaeus still shakes his head in wonderment at the show’s success.

    “I am fiercely proud, amazed and astonished. I thought this would be a little show running for perhaps a year in a small theatre in London,” he said.

    The two couples who made up pop’s most famous acronym – Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid – have long since divorced but all is sweetness and light between them now.

    “We do indeed stay in touch,” Ulvaeus said.

    “I met Agnetha last week. We have a grandchild who is three. We meet much more often these days than we did perhaps 10 years ago.”

    — Reuters/AFP

  6. Samuel Inglles Says:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-1598-NY-Broadway-Theater-Examiner~y2009m8d1-Tomorrow-Mama-Mia-becomes-the-14th-longest-running-show-on-Broadway

    Tomorrow Mama Mia becomes the 14th longest running show on Broadway
    August 1, 11:44 AM

    Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus MAMMA MIA!, the smash hit musical, officially becomes the 14th longest-running show in Broadway history on Sunday, August 2nd when it surpasses the record previously held by the play Life with Father. When MAMMA MIA! plays its 3,225th performance, the musical also earns the distinction of having run longer than any other straight play in Broadway history. Seen by over 40 million people around the world, MAMMA MIA!, is celebrating over 3,000 performances in its eighth smash hit year at Broadway?s Winter Garden Theatre and remains among Broadway’s top selling musicals.

    The original West End production of MAMMA MIA! is celebrating 10 years and over 4,000performances in London, an international tour has visited more than 40 foreign cities, and the blockbuster feature film adaptation, produced by Judy Craymer and Gary Goetzman, is the most successful movie musical of all time grossing $600 million worldwide.

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