Mamma Mia!, the highly-anticipated British musical composed of popular ABBA tunes, will bow on Broadway on Oct. 18, 2001, it has been announced. The theatre will be the Winter Garden, longtime home of Cats, which is closing this weekend. No casting has been announced.
The Winter Garden will be renovated before the ABBA show moves in. The theatre was greatly altered in order to accommodate Cats. Tickets for Mamma Mia! will go on sale in spring or summer of next year.
The musical will have toured several cities in America before hitting New York City. Its first stop is San Francisco, beginning Nov. 15. Tickets for the opening leg of the tour go onsale Sept. 10, via TicketMaster -- (415) 512-7770 -- and at the Orpheum Theatre box office in San Francisco -- the tour's first stop.
Other cities Mamma Mia! will reach are Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as the recently-announced Washington DC and Boston for the second half of 2001. Washington's run is expected to begin in July 2001 with Boston following in Sept. 2001.
The continuing tour may indicate some truth to the rumor that a separate New York City company for Mamma Mia! may be formed, although the show's producers have often remarked on their interest in moving slowly to Broadway. DC and Boston are also traditional pre-Broadway try out stops. After San Francisco, Los Angeles plays next host to Mamma Mia! 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 in the U.S. (the Canadian engagement has already extended at the Royal Alexandra into 2001).
Here's the current Mamma Mia! tour schedule:
Nov. 15, 2000: San Francisco, CA's Orpheum Theatre
Feb. 22, 2001: Los Angeles
May 18, 2001: Chicago's Shubert Theatre
July 2001: Washington DC
Sept. 2001: Boston, MA
As for U.S. Mamma Mia! tour 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.