Mamma Mia! Celebrates 20 Years On the Musical Stage

Mamma Mia! Celebrates 20 Years On the Musical Stage

Years after its debut, the musical has earned an estimated $4 billion, solely from its stage musical / Photo by Dalibor Tonkovic via Wikimedia Commons

 

“Mamma Mia!: The Musical” is remaining strong 20 years after its debut at London’s Prince Edward Theatre. Variety mentioned in a  web post that the reason why the musical has remained very popular on the musical stage is its collection of hit songs from ABBA, along with the persistence and talent of producer Judy Craymer, director Phyllida Lloyd, and writer Catherine Johnson.

The anniversary featured a special finale performance from 13 former ‘Dynamos’ from the stage musical's past seasons. ‘Mamma Mia!’ is a powerful musical that quickly transformed into a cultural phenomenon and was followed by the hit 2008 film, according to London Theatre Direct. The musical will continue to provide inspiration and all the laughs at the Novello Theatre until March 7, 2020.

Fans of the musical, both on stage and on the big screen, would be thrilled to know that the hit musical celebrated their anniversary by giving lucky viewers a chance to witness all the Donnas, Rosies, and Tanyas throughout the years to perform a special finale of ABBA’s hit song, ‘Dancing Queen’. The original cast of the Broadway musical including Siobhan McCarthy, who played the role of Donna, and Jenny Galloway, who played the role of Rosie, also performed.

Celebrating 20 years

Following the recent celebration of ‘Mamma Mia!’s 20th anniversary, the musical production managed to bring back on stage ABBA’s leading men, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, who were part of the Swedish pop sensation whose songs made the hit musical even more popular.

Express UK reported on their website that at the London’s Novello Theatre, the pair who wrote the music and lyrics to one of the most popular stage musicals ever made an appearance to join in the celebration. Ulvaeus told the audience that he felt “strange and wonderful” to be there, two decades after the show debuted. Meanwhile, backstage, Andersson remarked that it had been “long” since he had seen the musical show and he also praised the wonderful cast of the hit stage musical.

Variety also recalled on their website that during the stage musical’s 10th anniversary, they declared it as “a global phenomenon” which gave jukebox musicals a good name. Many jukebox musical shows have tried to achieve the success that Mamma Mia has received throughout the years, but “Mamma Mia!” not only managed to attract crowds but also hooked people enough to want to watch it over and over again.

Additionally, the musical was adapted for the big screen in 2008 where Meryl Streep assumed the role of Donna Sheridan, Amanda Seyfried played Sophie, and Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard played the roles of Donna’s past lovers. Telegraph shared on their website that the film's cast returned for a sequel titled “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” in 2018.

“Mamma Mia!: The Musical” is remaining strong 20 years after its debut at London’s Prince Edward Theatre / Photo by Napier Operatic Society via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Global Smash Hit

The stage production had low expectations when it first debuted because in 1983, another tribute to the Swedish band, named “Abbacadabra,” closed eight weeks after its premiere. However, after being in a workshop for 18 months, the show was “a financial gusher,” reportedly making back its £3 million costs in 27 weeks, according to Variety.

Years after its debut, the musical has earned an estimated $4 billion, solely from its stage musical. The sense of self-mockery which is evident in the musical show together with the use of ABBA’s greatest pop songs has definitely swept audiences from all around the world off of their feet. Both the film and musical depict the same story about a single mother who raises her daughter, who will be married soon to her fiance.

However, the adorable twist of the story is that Sophie Sheridan, daughter of Donna, is in search for her real father in order for him to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. Throughout the years, audiences from all over the world have found it amusing that Sophie’s search for her real father is filled with questions that even her mother can’t answer. London Theatre Direct shared on their website that in order to get more answers, Sophia secretly invites the three men mentioned in her mother’s diary, who she suspects to be one of her father, to the wedding.

With foot-stomping and catchy songs from ABBA, ‘Mamma Mia!’ has managed to tell the story of Sophie’s search for her real father through witty lines from its characters and a lot of sparkle. These catchy songs, which almost anyone is familiar with, allow audience members to interact with the musical by singing along to its songs and perhaps dancing in the theater's aisles.

ABBA songs such as “Super Trouper”, “Lay Your Love On Me”, “Dancing Queen”, and “Knowing Me Knowing You” are just some of the tunes that have delighted fans of both the film and the stage musical.