Mamma Mia! at Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre

mamma mia at thelma gaylord theatreABBA dominated the pop music scene thanks to their distinctive Swedish pop. Their catchy songs defined the disco era of the 70s and became classics in the scene. More than 50 years later, their relevance continues to be felt in pop culture. The reason for this is that they do not go out of trend. Years have passed, and their discography pops up at some point, generation after generation.

Among the reasons why ABBA’s music stands the test of time is due to iterations like the musical Mamma Mia! Most people, if not all, are aware that this ABBA-inspired stage musical exists. This is due to the reason that it is among the greatest musicals of today. It has it all. Hilarious storyline, great themes, and banger ABBA songs. Thanks to media like this, people get to experience what makes ABBA one of the best pop groups in music history. It gives people the chance to hear their banger songs like “Dancing Queen,” “Chiquitita,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!,” and, of course, “Mamma Mia.”

If you want to witness how ABBA’s music becomes larger-than-life on stage, take the chance by watching Mamma Mia! at the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre this May!

Mamma Mia! Tickets

‘”Mamma Mia!” flies as tuneful as a lark and as smart as a cuckoo.’ – New York Post
“It champions a conception of love as an expansive, empowering fairy tale force, with a banging soundtrack to drive the point home.” – Arts Hub
mamma mia tickets

Behind the smash-hit musical is British producer Judy Craymer. The idea came to her when she came across the music of ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus in the Time Rice musical Chess. She fell in love with their compositions and had a creative epiphany to make a musical with ABBA songs. Her favorite of the many songs of the Swedish pop sensation is the song “The Winner Takes It All.” Because of her love for it, she decided that she would use it as inspiration. And so the foundations of the ABBA musical began in the 80s.

In 1983, while Andersson and Ulvaeus were working on the Chess, Craymer decided to meet with them. Her proposal was not disregarded by the two musicians, but they were not excited about it, as well. It took more than a decade before the two were sold on the idea of the musical. After their agreement, Craymer immediately arranged the development team for the musical. British playwright Catherine Johnson took the helm as the writer of the musical’s book. Before Mamma Mia, her works focused on stage plays like Boys Mean Business and Too Much Too Young. Phyllida Lloyd then filled in as the director. Her works by then were attention-grabbing, like her commercially successful stage production of Six Degrees of Separation. The team worked on the musical from 1997 to 1998. Throughout the development, both Andersson and Ulvaeus worked closely with Craymer, Johnson, and Lloyd, whereas their ABBA member Anni-Frid Lyngstad supported the finances of the production.

 With the music already prepared, the main task of the development team is in the story. A question arose: “How do you make a story out of ABBA songs?” Well, the answer was in the lyrics. After trying out multiple storylines, they settled on a tale of a woman who got into a chaotic circumstance wherein she met with her three past partners. Each of them claims to be her daughter’s father.

 Mamma Mia! is set on a Greecian island called Kalokairi. Donna, a free-spirited lady, is preparing for Sophie, her daughter’s wedding. Everything is working smoothly; the reception is complete, and the ceremony will happen soon. However, Donna is unaware that Sophie has one wish to fulfill — and that is to walk down the aisle with her father beside her. The problem is she does not know the identity of her father. Donna is adamant to tell her anything about her father. In desperation, Sophie decided to snoop around her mother’s belongings. This led to her discovering a diary. Its contents reveal Donna’s past relationships. There, she found the names and whereabouts of three men whom her mother had a relationship with. Not sure who among them was her real father, she decided to invite all of them. Sophie’s invitation brought the three men to the island, and their presence caused a whirlwind of flashbacks and relationships being rebuilt. With Sophie’s wedding about to happen, they have to resolve the conflict and confusion.

This story is perfectly brought to life with the help of the Disco songs of ABBA. Twenty-four songs were chosen to be included in the whole musical.

mamma mia broadway musical

What to expect

The first act includes “Honey, Honey,” “Thank You For the Music,” “Mamma Mia,” “Chiquitita,” “Dancing Queen,” “Lay All Your Love On Me,” “Super Trouper,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight),” “The Name of the Game,” and “Voules-Vouz.” On the other hand, “SOS,” “Does Your Mother Know,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Our Last Summer,” “Slipping Through My Fingers,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” and “I Have a Dream” complete the second act.

If you like to listen to ABBA, then it is sure that you already listened to all of these songs. They are delightfully arranged to fit the musical and were done in a way that does not stray too much from the original recordings.

Mamma Mia! was first experienced on West End. It premiered at the Prince Edward Theatre. Since 1999, the musical has continued to run on West End, hopping from one theatre to another. It is considered the sixth longest-running musical in West End history.

Only a year after the box-office run on West End, Broadway had its production. The Winter Garden Theatre became its first home and then transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre in 2013. The Broadway run is considered the ninth longest in Broadway history, beating classics like The Sound of Music.

Since it was a huge success, the West End production received three nominations and won “Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.” On the other hand, the Broadway production snatched five nominations.

The success of the musical is not complete without the internationally acclaimed and highly-grossing movie musical. Mamma Mia! (movie) came out in 2008 and starred prolific actresses Meryl Streep as Donna and Amanda Seyfried as Sophie.

The Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre is where the Dancing Queens will be witnessed this coming May 21 to 26. Take A Chance On this musical extravaganza. Secure your tickets now!

thelma gaylord pac mamma mia