From: 6 September 2012
Booking up to: 19 September 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Monday at 7.45pm
Tuesday at 7.45pm
Wednesday at 7.45pm
Thursday at 3.00pm and 7.45pm
Friday at 7.45pm
Saturday at 3.00pm and 7.45pm
Sunday no show
Runs 2 hours and 45 minutes including one interval
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
The record-breaking ABBA musical Mammia Mia! in London - now in its amazing 16th year in the West End!
On a tiny Greek island a wedding is about to take place ... Mamma Mia! is ABBA's greatest hits woven into 3 wonderful love stories: A young girl about to be married; her mother about to confront the past; and the best love story of all - the audience about to jump out of their seats with joy. This is a musical love story, which crosses continents - and generations. Essentially about true love, old and new, the musical also explores the fabric of 'family' and, in particular the relationship between a mother and her soon-to-wed daughter - the stage musical transports its audience to a tiny and mythical Greek island as we share two unforgettable days in the lives of our heroines - and heroes - surrounded by crystal blue seas and beneath a beating Grecian sun.
Over twenty ABBA songs, ranging from classics like 'Dancing Queen' and 'The Winner Takes It All' to the less well known, yet equally impressive, 'Slipping Through My Fingers' and 'Our Last Summer', form the basis of what Bjorn Ulvaeus himself describes as "the musical we never knew we had written." I have a dream... Every one of Abbas songs tells a story. Inspired by deeply personal feelings and events, sometimes painful but often joyous, it can be of little surprise that several generations of music lovers have taken these songs to their hearts. Today a staggering one in five households in the UK owns a copy of ABBA GOLD, an album released in 1992 that has remained in the charts for over 200 weeks, and which returned to No.1 the week after Mamma Mia! opened in 1999. An amazing achievement for a band that stopped recording in 1982.
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, designs by Mark Thompson, lighting by Howard Harrison, and sound by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken.
Producer Judy Craymer, who had worked with Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice as Executive Producer on Chess which enjoyed a three run in the late 1980s at London's Prince Edward Theatre, was convinced that there was a musical to be created featuring many of ABBA's most popular songs. It was the award-winning playwright Catherine Johnson who created the story which captured the imagination of Judy Craymer and her producing partners Richard East and Bjorn Ulvaeus. The lyrics to each chosen ABBA song glided effortlessly into Catherine's funny and poignant tale of family and friendship. Following the appointment of director Phyllida Lloyd, renowned for her work in opera and at the National Theatre, the project gathered further momentum as an experience creative team - Mark Thompson (designer), Howard Harrison (lighting), Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken (sound), Martin Koch (additional orchestrations and musical supervision) and Anthony Van Laast (choreography) - worked as a collaborative team to bring Mamma Mia! to theatrical life.
25 years ago to the day of Mamma Mia!'s world premiere performance at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1999, a new group - ABBA - known in their native Sweden but unknown to the rest of the world, triumphed at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest held at the Dome in Brighton. The winning song was 'Waterloo' and the rest, as they say, is history. For 'Waterloo' didn't just win Eurovision, it also went to number one in the UK and into the Top 10 in the United States. Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid were set on an unstoppable path that has to date seen ABBA sell over 350 million records. Number One hit singles, platinum albums, sell-out concert tours and even a hit movie turned ABBA into a global phenomenon. Even after the group themselves went their separate ways, the ABBA sound was kept alive by ABBA GOLD, ABBA Love Stories and the limited edition ABBA Singles Collection which have continued to bring the group chart success.
Composers Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus have twice before scored success in the musical theatre, firstly with their smash hit musical Chess, written in collaboration with Tim Rice, which produced a best-selling album and two hit singles - 'I Know Him So Well' and 'One Night In Bangkok' and secondly with Kristina Fran Duvemala, an epic musical adventure which sees a young Swedish peasant girl journey to a new life in America. It remains the most successful musical to have ever premiered in Sweden. This original stage production opened in London on 6 April 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre, it then transferred a short distance away to the newly refurbished Prince of Wales Theatre on 3 June 2004 where it played up to 1 September 2012 before transferring again to the nearby Novello Theatre from 6 September 2012.
"It's a bit like Cluedo. Instead of finding the missing links between Colonel Mustard, a rope and a conservatory, you've got to provide the cues for Chiquitita, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Waterloo and the rest. It's a game the writer, Catherine Johnson, has great fun with. She locates the contemporary love story on a Greek island. No wonder Waterloo hasn't made it, except as the name of a boat; a silent jokey reference. Getting Napoleon into the narrative was always going to be a battle... Watching the plot twist and turn with the sole purpose of prompting a song is similar to the mildly amusing, mildly painful (this is a mild evening) experience of watching a learner driver laboriously manoeuvre her car (sorry girls) into a tight parking space. When she finally manages it, you can breathe a sigh of relief, sit back, let those wonderfully naff catchy numbers wash over you, and say thank you for the music because, let's be honest, they're what you're here for. Mamma Mia! isn't wholly successful: there are too many tired sexist jokes; the choreography is a series of missed opportunities and the three ex-lovers make a dismally under-powered trio. But when the show dares to send itself up it can be terribly funny... More surprising, perhaps, is the odd poignant moment when a song genuinely fits the dramatic situation and you hear it afresh, such as the scene when Donna brushes Sophie's hair before her wedding and reflects that her daughter is Slipping Through My Fingers. Bucking the trend towards lavish spectacle and techno wizardry, the show is simply staged on Mark Thompson's minimalist set of thick, sun-soaked white walls." The Mail on Sunday
"Mamma Mia! is heaven for Abba fans and a bit of fun for everyone else... The show does not pretend to be anything other than a collection of the Swedish super group's old hits. A wedding on a Greek island for a girl who was the product of a holiday romance provides the backdrop. But it is just a flimsy excuse to sing together a selection of songs that topped the charts back in the 70s... Every corny cue for a song was greeted by cheers and applause. A conveniently placed guitar was enough to introduce Thank You For The Music. Wishful thinking brought on a sharp burst of Money Money Money. And a fierce row prompted SOS. The dance numbers are just as inventive, involving routines with luminous wetsuits and flippers... Thank you for the music. Thank you for the musical." The Daily Mirror
"Here's a question: when is a new musical not a new musical? Answer: when none of the songs is new. You get a lot of your famous old ones together and arrange a plot around them, rather like building a new home around your old furniture. That is one way of describing the 'new' Abba musical, Mamma Mia! So it's a great con then, the whole thing, is it? Just a huge recycling affair? No, that would be quite unfair. A lot of skill and theatrical cunning has gone into this show, a fact that will be obvious if you spend a calm couple of minutes imagining yourself trying to dream up a story to accommodate 22 different songs. In fact, the book is by Catherine Johnson, a real playwright who writes real plays; and what she has written here is more than the average book for an average musical... The fun of the show lies in the skill and wit with which the songs are fitted into the story, not just as decorations but moving it along, almost as if they had been written for it. The night I saw the show, the first words of each song got a thunderous welcome. This is a real fans' fiesta. The direction is by Phyllida Lloyd, and the main reason why the show works is that she treats it as a real play with songs, with actors who can sing and singers who can act... This will be a hugely successful show, and every performance will be much like the opening night, with the whole audience rising to it like a thunderstorm." The Sunday Times
"Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre, is a sure-fire hit. Stringing together a large number of Abba songs might alone have guaranteed a success, but Catherine Johnson, who has written the book, has done better than that. She hasn't attempted anything deep, dark, svelte or artistic: there is no contravention of the Abba ethos. She has produced a buoyant, celebratory piece which contains both irony and soppiness, the tacky and the wholesome, and which bounces 22 Abba numbers into the audience... Johnson's most inventive move is to make her musical into a game in which the audience tries to guess which song is coming, as the plot sneaks up on and finally snares a well-known number." The Observer
This original stage production was originally presented in London at the Prince Edward Theatre (previewed from 23 March 1999, opened on 6 April 199, and closed on 29 May 2004) before transferring, firstly to the newly refurbished Prince of Wales Theatre (opened 3 June 2004, and closed on 1 September 2012), then to the Novello Theatre (opened 6 September 2012).
The original cast at the Prince Edward Theatre featured Siobhan McCarthy as 'Donna Sheridan', Louise Plowright as 'Tanya', Jenny Galloway as 'Rosie', Lisa Stokke as 'Sophie Sheridan', Eliza Lumley as 'Ali', Melissa Gibson as 'Lisa', Andrew Langtree as 'Sky', Paul Clarkson as 'Harry Bright', Nicolas Colicos as 'Bill Austin', Hilton McRae as 'Sam Carmichael', Neal Wright as 'Pepper', Nigel Harman as 'Eddie', and Tom Magdich as 'Father Alexandrios', with James Barron, Simon Bishop, Wendy Mae Brown, Andy Couchman, Karen Shenaz David, Lori Haley Fox, Nick Haswell, Melissa Jacques, Drew Jaymson, Tom Magdich, Anne-Marie McCormack, Stephen McGlynn, Leah-Sue Morland, Joseph Noble, Richard Pettyfer, Caroline Sheen, Scarlett Strallen, Emma Jay Thomas, Timothy Walton and Annette Yeo.
Mamma Mia! in London opened on 6 April 1999 and closed on 29 May 2004 at the Prince Edward Theatre before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre from 3 June 2004 to 1 September 2012. The production then transferred to the Novello Theatre from 6 September 2012.