Mamma Mia!, the new musical comedy incorporating hit tunes by Swedish supergroup ABBA, has proved infectious in London, Toronto, Australia and across the United States. Oct. 5, its dancing queens and kings have the chance to strut their stuff across the Winter Garden's stage in the company's first Broadway preview. Opening night is set for Oct. 18.
The first preview for the light show comes with a heavy message. Mamma Mia! is donating the entire proceeds of its first performance to the Twin Towers Fund and the American Red Cross (as will the other four productions of the musical running around the world — in London, Melbourne, Toronto and Boston).
Mamma Mia! features original Toronto stars, Louise Pitre as Donna and Tina Maddigan as her daughter Sophie. A Dora Mavor Moore Award (Toronto's Tony) winner for Mamma Mia!, Piaf and Blood Brothers, Pitre's 20 years of credits include musical theatre stints with Les Miserables, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd and Cabaret. Sophie is Maddigan's first major role. She graduated in 1998 as a Musical Theatre major at Sheridan College.
As partners in Donna's former singing trio, cabaret's Karen Mason plays gal pal Tonya and Ragtime's Judy Kaye as Rosie. As the trio of possible Dads for Sophie, Toronto Mamma Mia! replacement cast member David Keeley is Sam, Dean Nolen (Tabletop is Harry and Ken Marks (When They Speak of Rita) is Bill. Joe Machota, who has toured as Ren in Footloose and Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, is Sophie's fiance, Sky.
Rounding out the company are Tonya Doran (Lisa), Sara Inbar (Ali), Mark Price (Pepper), Michael B. Washington (Eddie), Meredith Akins, Stephan Alexander, Kim-e J. Balmilero, Robin Baxter, Brent Black, Tony Carlin, Bill Carmichael, Meghann Dreyfuss, Barrett Foa, Jon-Erik Goldberg, Somer Lee Graham, Hollie Howard, Kristin McDonald, Adam Monley, Jeanine Morick, Chris Prinzo, Janet Rothermel, Peter Matthew Smith, Yuka Takara, and Marsha Waterbury. 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. While the daughter plans her future with the love of her life, she and her mother are haunted by three different men who may or may not be her daughter's father.
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."
Andersson and 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.
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 Bobby Aitken and musical supervision by Martin Koch.
For tickets in New York, call (212) 239-6262. Mamma Mia! is on the web at http://www.mamma mia.com.