Mamma Mia! is officially a hit. Any measure of surprise comes not from the fact that Mamma Mia! has recouped its entire $10 million Broadway investment — the musical menage of ABBA hits is an industry, spawning successful (and continuing) runs in London, Toronto and Australia, as well as two U.S. tours. No, it's the speed with which Mamma Mia! did it - less than 28 weeks.
Mamma Mia! opened at the Winter Garden Theatre Oct. 18, 2001. Although honored by the Tony Awards with five nominations, including Best Musical, Best Actress (Louise Pitre) and Best Featured Actress (Judy Kaye), the popular tuner doesn't need the awards at all. With or without them, the current productions will continue and new Mamma Mia!s in Germany and Japan will open in the latter half of 2002.
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."
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.