The Bravo television network will feature the London musical Mamma Mia! on its "Bravo Profiles" program, including footage of rehearsals and performances. The show will air July 26, and repeat July 27 at 1:30 AM and 3 PM, July 31 at 5 PM, and Aug. 1 at 5 AM.
Mamma Mia -- which opened in April at the Prince Edward Theatre to ecstatic notices -- will likely reach Toronto in May, a U.S. spokesman for the production told Playbill On-Line. The ABBA tuner will play at the Royal Alexandra Theater for what will possibly be a six-month stay, though exact dates have not been set.
A London spokesman for the show told Playbill On-Line (July 15) that an American transfer of Mamma Mia! is currently being discussed, though nothing definite had been decided. "We're really just taking one step at a time," producer Judy Craymer told the New York Times (July 16). "But Broadway is obviously a dream that everyone would like to achieve."
In other news, the London cast album of Mamma Mia! will be released in November of this year.
Mamma Mia collects a couple dozen hit songs by the Swedish supergroup ABBA and shapes them around the story of a single mother and her young daughter's marriage on a Greek isle. In structure, it resembles Saturday Night Fever, another London-born, Broadway-bound musical built around already existing hits by a popular singing group -- in that case, the disco kings, The Bee Gees. Among the songs used in Mamma Mia are such familiar 70s staples as "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me, Knowing You," "S.O.S.," "Take a Chance on Me" and "The Winner Takes It All." The latter ballad is fashioned as a melodramatic, eleven o'clock number for the musical's star, Siobhan McCarthy, a West End veteran who has appeared in Evita , Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables.
Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the songwriting half of ABBA, previously wrote the musical Chess, which enjoyed an extended run at the Prince Edward in the 1980s in a production directed by Trevor Nunn, currently artistic director of the National Theatre.
Since opening to rave reviews, Mamma Mia has routinely sold out every performance, making it the most sought-after ticket in London.
Mamma Mia is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. It is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and musical supervision by Martin Koch.