The stage musical of MAMMA MIA! is the ‘dancing queen’ of West End jukebox musicals, having been part of the London theatre scene for over 14 years now. It has spawned productions all over the globe, including on Broadway as well as in Australia, Japan, Russia and Spain, and even inspired a Hollywood film version in 2008 with an all-star cast which featured Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan. An international touring production has visited countries all around the world, and next year, it is coming to the UK.
It was announced earlier this year that the MAMMA MIA! tour will play an exclusive Summer Season at the Blackpool Opera House, marking its only other UK date outside of London in 2014. It is set to open before Blackpool audiences on Friday 20th June 2014 and run at the venue until Sunday 31st August 2013. This week, the full cast for the Blackpool leg of the tour was revealed by the show’s producers, who were ‘delighted’ to welcome real-life husband and wife duo Richard Standing and Sara Poyzer back to MAMMA MIA!
MAMMA MIA! is a musical based on the music of ABBA, featuring such hit songs as ‘Take a Chance on Me’, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’. The show’s book writer, Catherine Johnson, wrapped the songs around a story which centres on the wedding of bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Sophie wants her father to walk her down the aisle, and not knowing which of the three possible candidates is her real father, secretly invites all three to the wedding without telling her mother, Donna. Chaos ensues when all three men arrive on the island, in this story of love, friendship and identity.
Richard Standing led the European tour production of the musical as Sam Carmichael, an architect who was Donna’s past love and one of the three possible fathers of Sophie. He will reprise the role for the international tour’s Summer Season in Blackpool, opposite Sara Poyzer as Donna Sheridan. Poyzer previously played the role of Donna in the West End stage production.
Starring alongside them are Geraldine Fitzgerald (Tanya), Sue Devaney (Rosie), Michael Beckley (Bill Austin), Kieron Crook (Harry Bright), Victoria Serra (Sophie Sheridan), Bart Edwards (Sky), Sally Frith (Ali), Jasmin Colangelo (Lisa), Kade Ferriaolo (Pepper) and Ashley Luke Lloyd (Eddie). At certain performances, Natalie Langston will play the principal role of Donna. The rest of the cast is comprised of Craig Anthony-Kelly, Laura Benazaize, Jay Bryce, Matthew Collyer, Frances Dee, James Royden-Lyley, Gemma Lawson, Megan Louch, Scott Mobley, Aaron Ashley Parker, Ashley Russell, Robbie Scotcher, Tom Stanford-Wheatley, Anna Stolli, Lucy Wilkerson, Sarah Wilkie and Jamie Wilkin.
The MAMMA MIA! international tour is produced by Judy Craymer, (creator/producer of the original West End production), Richard East and former ABBA band member Bjorn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal, Stage Entertainment and NGM.
The Blackpool performances of the international tour in 2014 will coincide with the show’s 15th anniversary year. The West End production of the hit musical originally opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6th April 1999. It transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004 and is currently playing at the Novello Theatre. Ahead of next year’s anniversary celebrations, MAMMA MIA! is launching its Early Bird Pricing program which will reward theatre-goers booking four months or more ahead of the show by offering savings on top price tickets. Speaking about the ticketing scheme, Judy Craymer said: “It’s a wonderful way to celebrate 15 exciting years in the West End and to thank our fantastic audiences.”
The stage musical of MAMMA MIA! has been entertaining theatre/ABBA fans for over a decade and its popularity is showing no signs of waning. The West End production is one of the biggest-drawing shows in town, and next year, the people of Blackpool can enjoy the musical spectacular right on their own doorstep with the international tour’s Summer Season there. A 15 year anniversary is a wonderful achievement and a worthy celebration. In 2014, UK theatre fans have the opportunity to join in the celebration and there’s really only one thing to say: Thank You for the Music!
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)