Spring, 1974 in the sleepy English seaside town of Briton, the world changed. ABBA, who arrived as relative unknowns, won the Eurovision Song Contest with a supremely catchy song called, Waterloo. ABBA left Briton and anonymity behind.
ABBA: Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (the initials of their first names are comprised to form the group’s name). Over the next 8-years ABBA made a strong case for redefining the definition of the word, “success”. Their impressive list of facts and figures are practically endless: Dancing Queen was number one in 12 countries and a laundry list of other chart toppers - Take a Chance on Me, Chiquitita, Fernando, Voulez-Vous, Knowing Me, Knowing You. And despite ABBA’s career having lasted less than a decade, their career album sales of 350,000,000 to this day leaves others in the dust - proof of ABBA’s timeless, universal appeal.
That level of career success should make any superstar content and stride, confidently, for the veggie patch. Wrong. What followed was more incredible success in the form of a movie: MAMMA MIA! - The Movie. The film secured blue-chip Hollywood talent in form of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Julie Walters to name a few. Premiering in London on June 30th, 2008, the film quickly made history as the highest grossing movie of all time at the UK and Irish box offices.
Nine years earlier, on April 6th, 1999, MAMA MIA!, the stage play also had its world premier in London. Was the show a success, you ask? Grab a seat, a couple plates of mezedes and a chilled glass of ouzo, we have more mind-numbing figures for you to read. MAMMA MIA! has been seen by 60 Million People worldwide in 49 productions in 16 different languages. MAMMA MIA! has grossed over $2 Billion at the box office. MAMMA MIA! has premiered in more than 440 major cities worldwide - faster than any other musical in history. Can I have a swig of that ouzo?
Three crucial reasons for MAMMA MIA!’s stage success are creator, Judy Craymer, playwright, Catherine Johnson and director, Phyllida Lloyd. By the end of 1997, the three had met and completed a first draft of the script. Together the three collaborated on creating what would become a huge commercial success. They recognized that the themes underlying MAMMA MIA’s! story - family, friendship, love, reunions and weddings - are universal and timeless, just like ABBA’s music.
Enjoy the show!