"Money, money, money," as they say in Mamma Mia!, is what the men of the second national touring company of the hit musical were seeking when they cooked up the idea of a 2003 calendar called "The Men of Mamma Mia!"
But the money isn't for the cast members, actor Mike Cannon told Playbill On-Line. Proceeds from the sale of the one-sheet color glossy calendar go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the support organization for those affected by HIV and AIDS.
The idea for the calendar came up when three cast members from the national tour (now in Hartford, CT) had dinner on the road a couple months ago. They talked about creating a 12-page benefit calendar with photos of men from the company, but by the end of the meal Tommar Wilson (who plays Eddie), Anthony Cefala (of the ensemble) and Cannon (also of the ensemble) decided it would be too costly to produce.
"It seemed like a lot of work," Cannon admitted.
But the idea didn't die. By the time they walked to the car after dinner, the notion had evolved. What if they made it a one-page, single-photo calendar? What if a photographer donated their service? What if they could get the graphic design for free? What if they could get clothing donated? Scratch that — what if they wore their own clothes?
In St. Louis, photographer Suzy Gorman agreed to do the studio work for them. In Pittsburgh, designer Norm Orlandi handled the graphics, and included permanent signatures of the guys on the finished product.
The cost of printing the 1,200 calendars was picked up by the cast. So far, in the fall BC/EFA fundraising campaign of post-show curtain speeches and lobby donations, about 200 calendars have sold at $20 a pop. The dough goes right into the Mamma Mia! company's general BC/EFA donation buckets.
The calendar has appeared on eBay, and friends and family of cast members are sending $23 in a makeshift mail order arrangement.
There are currently discussions about how BC/EFA might be able to sell the calendar — the photo of which is a variation of the Mamma Mia! finale pose — on its website come December, but no solid plan is in place.
For information about the calendar, write MammaMiaCares@aol.com.