Melbourne's Mamma Mia! has a Donna - Anne Wood will lead the cast of the Australian premiere of the wildly popular ABBA musical, beginning performances at the Princess Theatre June 9, 2001.
Wood has worked in London and in Australia and can be heard on the Australian cast recording of The Sound of Music and the original cast recording of A Swell Party, a West End Cole Porter revue that premiered in 1991. Joining her in the Mamma Mia! cast will be Natalie O'Donnell as Sophie, Jolyon James as Sky, jazz and big band singer Rhonda Burchmore (Hot Shoe Shuffle) as Tanya, Lara Mulcahy (Les Miserables) as Rosie, Nicholas Eadie as Sam, Peter Hardy as Bill and Robert Grubb ("Gallipoli," "Pardise Road") as Harry.
Judy Craymer, Richard East and Bjorn Ulvaeus for Littlestar will produce Mamma Mia! in Australia, in association with Universal and Dainty Consolidated Entertainment.
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.
Tickets (top price: $81) went on sale to the general public March 1, 2001. For reservations, call 011-61-0- 3-9299-9011.