Mamma Mia! to Make Stage-to-Screen Transfer

News   Mamma Mia! to Make Stage-to-Screen Transfer It looks like Mamma Mia!, the hit ABBA musical that has grossed $1.6 billion worldwide, will be the next musical to make the stage-to-screen leap.

Variety reports that Playtone's Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman have struck a deal with ABBA's Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and Littlestar, the company headed by Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer, for a Mamma Mia! film. The movie musical would likely hit screens in late 2007 with Universal possibly financing and distributing the motion picture.

Catherine Johnson, who wrote the book for the musical, will pen the film's screenplay, which will closely resemble the plot of the stage version. Mamma Mia! employs the hit songs of famed pop group ABBA to tell the story of Sophie Sheridan, a young girl who hopes to discover the identity of her father. On the eve of her wedding, she brings three men from her mother Donna's past back to the Greek island they visited over two decades ago.

Craymer, the industry paper reports, will be very involved with the making of the film. The producer told Variety, "The time felt right. The partnership with Gary and Tom helped everything fall into place. We've never had stars in the show, the music has always been the star, but we are certainly thinking about names as we take this from the stage to the screen."

Mamma Mia! features music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, a book by Catherine Johnson, direction by Phyllida Lloyd and choreography by Anthony Van Laast. Over 20 million people have seen the musical, which has more productions playing around the world than any other current Broadway musical. Song titles include "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me, Knowing You," "Money, Money, Money," "S.O.S.," "The Name of the Game" and "The Winner Takes it All."

Mamma Mia! plays the Winter Garden Theatre, which is located in New York City at 1634 Broadway.