Mamma Mia!, the highly anticipated British musical composed of popular ABBA tunes, has set a date with the United States. Three cities, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago will be the first to see the popular new show, beginning Nov. 15 when the U.S. premiere starts up at San Fran's Orpheum Theatre.
Los Angeles plays host next with a start date of Feb. 22, 2001 at the Shubert Theatre. Chicago, the last announced stop, will become home to the tuner May 18. No end dates have been announced for any of the tour runs, but it's possible Toronto-like extensions will follow the musical to the U.S. (the Canadian engagement has already extended at the Royal Alexandra into 2001).
Tickets to Mamma Mia! are available by contacting the venue. No tickets are yet on sale.
As for U.S. Mamma Mia! players, the show is already cast. The current Toronto company will leave their home for the Golden Gate Brige Nov. 4, where Dora winner Louise Pitre and newcomer Tina Maddigan will head up the new staging.
Pitre and Maddigan, a Toronto theatre vet and a newcomer, respectively, lead the Mamma Mia! mother-daughter team around whom the plot is focused. They join a cast that includes Adam Brazier, Gary Lynch, Lee MacDougall, Mary Ellen Mahoney, David Mucci and Gabrielle Jones. A Dora Mavor Moore Award winner for both 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.
This is Maddigan's first major role. She graduated in 1998 as a Musical Theatre major at Sheridan College.
Brazier (as Sky) is a Stratford Festival vet whose credits there include Romeo and Juliet, Camelot and Man of La Mancha. Lynch (Sam Carmichael) portrayed Javert on Broadway and has toured the U.S. as El Gallo in The Fantasticks. Playwright MacDougall (Harry Bright) won the 1996 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play for High Life and most recently appeared on the Royal Alexandra stage in Damn Yankees. Mahoney (Tanya) starred in the Royal Alexandra's Crazy For You, also performing on the Royal Alex stage in The Heidi Chronicles and Singin’ and Dancin’ Tonight. She won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her appearance in A Little Night Music and was nominated as the lead in Beckett's Happy Days. Mucci (Bill Austin) performed on Broadway in both Ragtime and Buddy and nears his 2000th performance at the Royal Alexandra, the most by an actor on that stage. Jones, last at the Royal Alexandra in Les Miserables, has spent six seasons with the Shaw Festival and four with the Stratford festival.
The ensemble features Charles Azulay, Danny Balkwill, Karen Burthwright, Jordan Cable, Nadia Duggin, Kelly Fletcher, Tracey Flye, Howard Kaye, Lisa Kisch, Nadine Roden, David Rosser, Monique Lund, Matt Murray, Daniel Jason O’Keefe, Craig Ramsay, Jennifer Toulmin, Astrid Van Wieren and Shawn Wright.
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 the love of her life, her mother is 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 musical supervision by Martin Koch.