Posted 26 May 2011
“Mamma Mia!”, the hugely successful stage musical based upon the 70s and 80s Swedish superpop group ABBA, is currently performing in Manchester, England in the Park Theatre, until June 11. This is the second time the touring company has come to Manchester, the last time in 2006, to sold-out audiences, and it has proven to be a bit hit again.

Mamma Mia!” is one of the most successful musical comedies in history. Over 42 million people have seen the show in more than 46 cities worldwide. It has grossed $2 billion. It’s set on a Greek Island, where a young bride is determined to discover her real father before she walks down the aisle. It features chart-topping hits, written by ABBA band members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, such as “Mamma Mia,” “Dancing Queen,” Knowing Me, Knowing You,” and “Take a Chance on Me.”

ABBA, which also consists of Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog, was the first pop group from a non-English speaking country that has consistently had hit records in English-speaking nations such as the U.S. and the UK. They have sold over 375 million records worldwide, making them the fourth best-selling music artists in history. Producer Judy Craymer came up with the idea of “Mamma Mia!” when she met Ulvaeus and Andersson in 1983 while working on the musical “Chess,” with the great Broadway lyricist Tim Rice. Craymer suggested to Ulvaeus and Andersson that ABBA’s songs lend themselves well to musical theatre, especially their song “The Winner Takes It All.” The songwriters were not enthusiastic about the idea, but they were also not completely opposed to it, either, so they gave Craymer permission to develop a musical.

In 1997, Craymer commissioned Catherine Johnson to write the book for the musical, and in 1998, Phyllida Lloyd came on as the show’s director. It was one of the first times three women collaborated together to create a commercial success in musical theatre. After the touring company completes their successful run in Manchester, they’ll move on to Belgium and Ireland as they continue their world-wide tour. Should you decide to catch the famous show in Manchester and need a hotel, check out the Jurys Inn range of hotels in Manchester.

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