Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical based on the songs of the famous Swedish pop supergroup ABBA. If you love their songs, Mamma Mia! will be a delight to watch. It was Broadway’s first true mega-hit jukebox musical, which paved the way for follow-up stunners like Jersey Boys, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The title of the musical itself is taken from ABBA’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia.”
Written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, Mamma Mia! is an ultimate feel-good musical, where you can fall in love with the story and the music. It features so many hits you know and love, like “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance On Me,” “VoulezVous,” “Super Trouper,” “Money, Money, Money,” and more.
West End Production
Mamma Mia! musical opened in the West End on April 6, 1999, at the Prince Edward Theatre. In 2004, it transferred to the Prince of Wales Theater, where it played until September 2012. Then, the production moved to the Novello Theatre. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, the original cast included:
- Siobhán McCarthy as Donna Sheridan
- Lisa Stokke as Sophie Sheridan
- Hilton McRae as Sam Carmichael
- Jenny Galloway as Rosie
- Louise Plowright as Tanya
- Nicolas Colicos as Bill Austin
- Paul Clarkson as Harry Bright
- Andrew Langtree as Sky
- Neal Wright as Pepper
- Nigel Harman as Eddie
- Eliza Lumley as Ali
- Melissa Gibson as Lisa
Broadway and North American Productions
Before the musical was produced in Broadway, it first opened in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. It opened in May 2000 and lasted for five years.
The musical debuted in San Francisco, California, at the Orpheum Theatre from November 2000 to February 2001. The original Broadway cast included:
- Louise Pitre as Donna Sheridan
- Tina Maddigan as Sophie Sheridan
- David W. Keeley as Sam Carmichael
- Judy Kaye as Rosie
- Karen Mason as Tanya
- Ken Marks as Bill Austin
- Dean Nolen as Harry Bright
- Joe Machota as Sky
- Mark Price as Pepper
- Michael B. Washington as Eddie
- Sara Inbar as Ali
- Tonya Doran as Lisa
It moved to Los Angeles, California, at the Shubert Theatre from February 2001 to May 2001. After that, it moved to Chicago, Illinois, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from May 2001 to August 2001.
Finally, the musical reached Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in October 2001. In October 2013, Mamma Mia! transferred from its home to the Broadhurst Theatre and began performances there in November the same year. In September 2015, the show closed while being the longest-running jukebox musical in Broadway history.
On a small Greek island, young bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan dreams of a perfect wedding, including her father walking her down the aisle. The problem is Sophie doesn’t know who her father is, and her mother, Donna, a former lead singer of the 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos, refuses to talk about her past. Donna raised Sophie alone, leaving her daughter wondering about her father. So, she decided to take the matter into her own hands.
Sophie took a peek in her mother’s old diary and found that she had three possible fathers: Sam Carmichael, Bill Austin, and Harry Bright. She decides to invite the three men at her wedding, hoping to find out who her father is. Sophie kept this a secret from her mother.
The day before the celebration, Tanya and Rosie, Donna’s old friends, arrived at the island. Soon, Sam, Bill, and Harry came as well. Donna was very upset because of this, but she was comforted by her friends. Meanwhile, Sophie thought that she would immediately recognize her father as soon as she sees him, but that’s not the case.
During her bachelorette party, Sophie tried to find out which of them is her father by talking to them one on one. She learns that Bill has an aunt who left all her money to Donna’s family. Bill learns that Donna built the tavern with the money she inherited from a friend she lived with when Sophie was still a baby, and that friend was Bill’s aunt. Both of them think this means that Bill is the father. Sophie asks Bill to walk her down the aisle, but Bill wants to ask Donna’s approval first. However, Sophie asked him not to say anything to her mother. Bill agreed.
Soon, Sam and Harry also came to Sophie and wanted to walk her down the aisle. The bride did not know what to do, as she didn’t want to disappoint any of her possible fathers.
Sophie had a nightmare that night, and after that, she quarreled with her mother as Donna began to doubt if Sophie really wants to get married or if she only wants to find out who her father is. Soon, Skye also learns why Sophie invited three of her mother’s lovers. He also accused the girl that she decided to marry just to find out who her birth father is. Sophie becomes upset, and Sam tries to comfort her, but it doesn’t work.
While Donna was helping her daughter wear a wedding dress, she told her how she was disowned by her parents when she became pregnant. Sophie then asks Donna to take her to the altar. The men were a little upset about this.
When Sophie was walking down the aisle, she suddenly interrupted the ceremony, telling Skye that she was not ready. Sam seizes this opportunity to propose to Donna and admits that he is still in love with her. Surprisingly, Donna accepts, and they get married. At the end of the night, Sophie and Sky go on a round-the-world tour.
- “Overture/Prologue” – Sophie
- “Honey, Honey” – Sophie, Ali & Lisa
- “Money, Money, Money” – Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Pepper & Company
- “Thank You for the Music” – Sophie, Sam, Harry & Bill
- “Mamma Mia” – Donna & Company
- “Chiquitita” – Donna, Tanya & Rosie
- “Dancing Queen” – Donna, Tanya & Rosie
- “Lay All Your Love on Me” – Sky, Sophie & Male Ensemble
- “Super Trouper” – Donna, Tanya, Rosie & Female Ensemble
- “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” – Female Ensemble
- “The Name of the Game” – Sophie & Bill
- “Voulez-Vous” – Company
- “Entr’acte” – Orchestra
- “Under Attack” – Sophie & Company
- “One of Us” – Donna
- “SOS” – Donna & Sam
- “Does Your Mother Know” – Tanya, Pepper & Company
- “Knowing Me, Knowing You” – Sam
- “Our Last Summer” – Harry & Donna
- “Slipping Through My Fingers” – Donna & Sophie
- “The Winner Takes It All” – Donna
- “Take a Chance on Me” – Rosie & Bill
- “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” – Sam, Donna & Company
- “I Have a Dream” – Sophie
- “Mamma Mia” – Company
- “Dancing Queen” – Donna, Tanya, Rosie & Company
- “Waterloo” – Company