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MAMMA MIA! (article first published : 2005-01-3)

Over 20 million people all around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make MAMMA MIA! the ultimate feel-good show!

This sunny, funny tale unfolds on a tiny Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. The storytelling magic of ABBA's timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, and every night everyone's having the time of their lives.

It was on March 23, 1999 that the musical MAMMA MIA! met its most crucial test when it was put in front of its first paying audience in London. It was given the kind of welcome it has been getting ever since, every night, at every one of the many productions that have since followed. “The audience went wild. They were literally out of their seats and singing and dancing in the aisles - and they still are. Every night,” says producer Judy Craymer. And now, they are doing so all around the world. Mamma Mia! has become a global entertainment phenomenon.

The playwright, Catherine Johnson, who was commissioned to write the book for MAMMA MIA! the challenge was that, “whatever happens in the story, I always have to come back to the song.” She was intent on avoiding the perennial fault of musicals: “We didn’t want to have those awful clunky moments where people burst into song. I am primarily a dramatist. To me, it was very important that I created believable characters and gave them all a true story line, and I absolutely worked to get the story and the songs to work together.”

This is a show about real people in real situations, yet a wonderful pop score that provided the soundtrack for a generation in the ’70s and early ’80s anchors it now as the soundtrack for a show whose appeal crosses all age and national boundaries. The essence of that is conveyed, too, in the distinctive logo for MAMMA MIA! an image of timeless wedding day happiness that instantly conveys emotions of joy, even elation, just as the show itself does. Like the show it represents, that picture has become an internationally recognized brand in cities around the world as the image of MAMMA MIA!

Presented by Big Concerts in association with SABC2, Jacaranda 94.2, KFM 94.5 and East Coast Radio in support of Unite Against Hunger, MAMMA MIA! will have performances at The International Convention Centre Durban from March 25 to 31. Other seasons are in Johannesburg (Sandton Convention Centre: February 15 to 27) and Cape Town (Cape Town International Convention Centre: March 9 to 16).

Tickets available from Computicket or on www.computicket.com or 083 915 8000 or visit the website at www.mamma-mia.com




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