1999: Only just 20th Century, but as it includes very iconic music of the 20th Century, I thought perhaps I should include this. I didn’t care much for the movie version; I couldn’t see the fascination in it, or other Jukebox Musicals for that matter. I never got Forrest Gump either.
Mamma Mia! (promoted as Mamma Mia! The Musical) is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia“. Ulvaeus and Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show from the beginning. Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved financially in the production and she has also been present at many of the premieres around the world.
The musical, which opened this day in the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre includes such hits as “Super Trouper“, “Lay All Your Love on Me“, “Dancing Queen“, “Knowing Me, Knowing You“, “Take a Chance on Me“, “Thank You for the Music“, “Money, Money, Money“, “The Winner Takes It All“, “Voulez-Vous“, “SOS” and the title track. Over 60 million people have seen the show, which has grossed $2 billion worldwide since its 1999 debut. A film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgård and Julie Walters was released in July 2008 (so you won’t find it on these pages!).
As of 2016, the show has productions in London’s West End, where it is the eighth longest-running show in West End history, as well as various international productions. Its Broadway incarnation closed in September 2015 after a 14-year run, making it the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. The show had its first regional production on May 27, 2016 at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. A typical performance of Mamma Mia! runs for approximately two hours and 30 minutes, plus a 15-minute intermission.