Mamma Mia!, which has already conquered Melbourne, will go on to lay waste to two other Australian cities, Brisbane and Sydney, by the end of 2002.
The ABBA musical began its long stay at Melbourne's Princess Theatre on June 9, 2001. It will wrap up its stay, after 441 performances, June 23, 2002. From there it opens a nearly ten-week tenure at Brisbane's Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Center, on July 5. Upon quitting Brisbane, it will jump to Sydney, where Lyric Theatre Star City welcomes the show on Sept. 28.
The Aussie news came hot on the heels of word that the hit British musical comedy would return to L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre for seven weeks beginning Sept. 17.
* Currently the tour stars Dee Hoty. Hoty, who took over for Louise Pitre as Donna in Chicago, was three-times Tony-nominated for Footloose, Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and The Will Rogers Follies. Other credits include Broadway's City of Angels, Me & My Girl, Big River and The Five O'Clock Girl. Also in the Mamma Mia! cast are Michelle Aravena as Donna's daughter Sophie, Gary P. Lynch as Sam, Ryan Silverman as Sky, Gabrielle Jones as Rosie and the Donna understudy, Mary Ellen Mahoney as Tanya, Mark Zimmerman as Harry, Craig Bennett as Bill, Miku Graham as Lisa, Nicole Fraser as Ali, Adam Fleming as Eddie and Sal Scozzari as Pepper.
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 musical supervision by Martin Koch.
Mamma Mia! opened at Broadway's renovated Winter Garden Theatre Oct. 18, 2001, after previews beginning Oct. 5.