On March 20, Mamma Mia!, the smash hit musical comprised of ABBA tunes, turns two years old. But on Feb. 19 the show will already start selling tickets up to its third birthday at the Prince Edward Theatre. A new block of tickets from October 2001 through March 16, 2002 are to be released that day.
The second anniversary will also bring a series of cast changes to the show. Olivier nominee Louise Plowright remains as mamma Donna, but she has a new daughter: newcomer Amanda Salmon, who also has a new fiance Sky in Raza Jaffrey. Both are making their West End debuts.
Louise Gold remains as Tanya with Lesley Nicol joining as Rosie. There will also be a new trio of possible dads - Peter Forbes as Harry, Simon Slater as Sam and Rohan Tickell as Bill.
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. In structure, it resembles Saturday Night Fever, another London-born musical built around already existing hits by a popular singing group — in that case, the disco kings, The Bee Gees.
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." Benny Andersson and Bjorn 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! is currenly running at Toronto's Royal Alexandra and making its second stop in the United States at Los Angeles' Shubert Theatre Feb. 22. The musical takes its first Australian bows at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne June 9 with a Broadway opening to follow Oct. 18 at the Winter Garden.