Friday, January 20, 2012

MAMMA MIA! Comes to Manila!

I grew up listening to ABBA music. My parents had several cassette tapes of the famous Australian band’s songs and I found myself also enjoying listening to the lyrics and melodies. Aside from liking several songs, I remember playing “Slipping Through My Fingers” over and over because it sounded sweet and mellow. I didn’t quite understand the exact meaning of the words at the time though.

Over the years, I got to hear ABBA songs every now and then but seemed to have forgotten the particular song that made me like the band in the first place … until the movie MAMMA MIA! was released a few years ago. (You can read my film review here which I wrote back in 2009). When I saw it, a lot of memories rushed in – of a younger me listening to ABBA songs using my father’s stereo or playing the tapes in a heavy walkman so I can bring the music to bed and let it lull me to sleep.

I loved a lot of things about the MAMMA MIA! movie – its memorable songs, lovely story, gorgeous setting, unforgettable characters, and the fantastic actors who played them – and was pleasantly surprised to discover that a theater version was already being staged abroad for years! (I know! I should have known about that earlier!). Thus, it became one of my fervent wishes to be able to watch the show someday. So, imagine my utmost delight when I found out last year that the MAMMA MIA! International Tour is coming to the Philippines!

I am very grateful to my good friend Rod because he gave my name to one of the organizers and secured me an official invite to the press con held at Dusit Thani a couple of days ago. There, we got to meet some of the main cast who will be playing the roles of Donna (Sara Poyzer), Sophie (Charlotte Wakefield), Ali (Rosie Heath), and Lisa (Tasha Taylor Johnson). The ladies were joined by Kelly Edwards, the production's Dance Captain.

MAMMA MIA! continues to be a global smash hit since the first production opened almost 13 years ago in London’s West End on April 6, 1999. It has premiered all over the world faster than any other musical in history, opening in over 300 major cities. The show has been seen by over 50 million worldwide and has grossed over $2 Billion at the Box Office.

The story, written by Catherine Johnson, unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of Sophie Sheridan’s wedding, she goes on a quest to discover the identity of her father and brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

Let me quote a paragraph from the press kit material written by British journalist Mark Shenton because this is also exactly how I see the production: “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!”

Judy Craymer, the show’s producer, shared that they had no idea how MAMMA MIA! would be received when the production was put in front of its first-ever paying audience in London. Happily, she remembers, “The audience went wild. They were literally out of their seats and singing and dancing in the aisles – and they still are. Every night.” Who won’t be when you get to listen live to ABBA’s unforgettable chart-topping hits like “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “The Winner Takes It All”?

Director Phyllida Lloyd succinctly puts it – MAMMA MIA! is “the show Bjorn [Ulvaeus] and Benny [Andersson] never knew they had written. Their music has made pop history; our show has made musical theater history.”

MAMMA MIA! will be shown at the CCP Main Theater from January 24 to February 19, 2012. It is presented by Infinity, powered by Smart and Citibank and is brought to us by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises, Hi Definition Radio, and Concertus Manila.

MAMMA MIA! Weekday rates are priced at P750, P1500, P3000, P4000, P5000, and P6000; Weekend matinee rates are P1000, P2000, P3500, P5000, P6000, and P7000. Groups of 20 or more can also get a 10% discount. Senior citizens also enjoy 20% off on ticket prices. Avail of other deals from TicketWorld by calling 891-9999 or logging on to

You may also want to check out other promos by Ayala Malls, Cebu Pacific, Dusit Thani, and Rustan’s. Don’t fail to witness this theatrical experience before the production wraps up the tour which ends in Manila! Please click here for more details about the said promos.

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