The global smash hit musical MAMMA MIA!, presented in Japan by Shiki Theatre Company by arrangement with Judy Craymer, Richard East and Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal, opened at the Kanagawa Arts Center in Yokohama, Japan yesterday, 14 July 2020, and, by the roaring applause, the audience were clearly delighted to be back at the theatre.
This is the very first production of MAMMA MIA! to open in the world post COVID-19. The opening had originally been planned for 28 March 2020, but had been postponed as theatres were forced to close down across the globe. It will play in Yokohama until 23 August, before moving to Fukuoka (Canal City Theatre) and then Kyoto (Kyoto Theatre).
Stringent new safety measures are in place to make the theatres safe and protect the audience, actors, musicians and crew. These include temperature checks, social distance seating, the wearing of face masks by the audience and frequent tests and health monitoring of the company and theatre staff.
Since the musical first premiered in Japan, in Tokyo in 2002, there has been a total of 3,017 performances in nine cities: Sapporo, Sendai, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, and has been seen by almost 2.7 million people.
Judy Craymer, the creator and producer of the phenomenally successful musical stage show, which launched over 21 years ago, said, “It is fantastic to have opened MAMMA MIA! in Yokohama yesterday, and hope that it is restorative at this time – bringing people together is the joy of theatre. Safety of our audiences, company and crew is paramount and this opening gives us optimism that it is possible that live theatre can happen again. We hope that it won’t be long before our other productions can open again in London and around the world. Theatre is the heartbeat of any city and the show must go on safely.”
Since premiering in London in 1999, the irresistible feelgood musical has captured the hearts of millions around the globe. The sunny, funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads on a Greek island idyll, all unfolding to the magic of ABBA’s timeless pop masterpieces, has now been seen live on stage by 65 million people across the world and turned into two record-breaking movies – MAMMA MIA! The Movie and MAMMA MIA! Here We Go Again.
With music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material & arrangements by Martin Koch.
The producers, cast and crew look forward to welcoming people back to the Novello Theatre London as soon as the Government allows performances to resume without social distancing (stage five of their theatre roadmap).
MAMMA MIA! in Japan is presented by Shiki Theatre Company by arrangement with Judy Craymer, Richard East and Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.