Mamma Mia!, a musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, is based on the songs of ABBA. The title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia."
The musical includes such hits as "Super Trouper", "Dancing Queen", "Thank You for the Music", "The Winner Takes It All", and "SOS". It has been seen by over 20 million people worldwide.
The story revolves around Sophie and her mother, Donna. Sophie is about to be married and wants her father to give her away at her wedding; Sophie isn't sure which of three possible men he might be.
Mamma Mia! premiered in London on April 6, 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre, transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. The North American premiere of the show was at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Ontario on May 23, 2000. The Broadway premiere of the show was on October 18, 2001, at the Winter Garden Theatre.
The Toronto production has since closed. Other notable productions that have run and closed include the Australasian International Tour (2001-2005), Tokyo show (2002-2004), Seoul show (early 2004), Utrecht Show (2003-2006), and Antwerp Show (2006).
On May 15, 2005, Mamma Mia surpassed the original Broadway runs of The Sound of Music, The King and I, and Guys and Dolls with 1,500 performances. As of June 8, 2006, it is the 26th longest running Broadway musical of all time.
On April 19, 2006, it was revealed on Playbill.com and Broadway.com that a film version of the musical will be made and should arrive in cinemas most likely in late 2007. It will be directed by Tom Hanks with Rita Wilson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson as executive producers.
Other companies are currently running in the USA: Broadway; Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay; and a National Tour. Other productions ongoing are in Europe (an International Tour), Japan (Osaka ending 2007), Germany (Hamburg & Stuttgart), Spain (Madrid), and Sweden (Stockholm). In 2006, Mamma Mia! was performed in two other countries, Belgium (Antwerp) and Italy (Milan). These two productions were in Flemish and Italian, respectively, becoming the eighth and ninth languages this musical has been performed in along with English, German, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Swedish. The show also returned to South Africa (Cape Town and Pretoria) and Seoul in 2006. Most recently, the official Mamma Mia! site has confirmed that the musical will be performed in a tenth language: Russian. This production will be in Russia (Moscow) in October 2006 with tickets available now. Unconfirmed rumours state that a production of Mamma Mia! will begin in Mandarin Chinese in China (Shanghai) by the end of next year.
The story takes place on a fictional Greek island. Sophie has always wanted to know who her real father was; Donna wouldn't talk about her past. Sophie reads through her mother's (Donna's) diary and finds entries where Donna describes intimate dates with the three men. Sophie believes that one of these three men is her father. She sends them invitations to her wedding without letting her mother know.
The three men — Harry "Head Banger" Bright, Bill Austin, and Sam Carmichael — all have their own quirks. Harry is a nerdy banker with a unique laugh; Bill is a stereotypical Australian; Sam is an architect who had an affair with Donna. In addition, Donna invited two of her old friends; Tanya, a rich multiple (three-time) divorcee, and Rosie, an unmarried woman who likes to have fun. The three of them used to be in a singing group called "Donna and the Dynamos."
Sophie initially believes Bill is her father because his aunt Sophia left a large amount of money for family. Donna says Sophie was named after a Sophia, and that the money to build the taverna came in an inheritance. She asks Bill to give her away at the wedding, and he agrees to do it. Soon thereafter, Harry and Sam figure out what's going on, and approach Sophie about it. All three possible fathers believe that they're giving Sophie away.
Sophie sends notes to the three men saying they aren't giving her away anymore. Donna would take that position. At the wedding, Sophie and her fiance realize they actually don't want to get married. Instead of calling off the wedding, Sam and Donna get married. It's also made apparent that Rosie and Bill become attracted.
The audience is encouraged to sing along during the encore.
On the preview night the musical had the song "Summer Night City" just after the prologue. The Summer Night City scene was a wedding rehearsal and during the song, Ali, Lisa, Tanya and Rosie arrived on the island.