Photo credit: Mamma Mia! Cast (Photo courtesy of Mamma Mia!)

Everything you need to know about ‘Mamma Mia!’ in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

How can you resist Mamma Mia!, the original musical? The long-running West End hit is packed with ABBA’s greatest hits and even inspired a global movie franchise.

Set on the sunny Greek island of Kalokairi, this upbeat, easygoing show sees a young woman discover family secrets just before her wedding day. Walking down the aisle has never been so dramatic.

West End audiences continue to unleash their inner "Dancing Queen" and say "Thank You For The Music" at the Novello Theatre. It's no surprise that ABBA fans travel from far and wide for their own slice of musical theatre heaven in Mamma Mia!. Here's our complete guide to the West End production of Mamma Mia!

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What is Mamma Mia! about?

Sophie has a dream. Before she marries her fiancé, Sky, she wants her father to walk her down the aisle. Trouble is, there's three potential men that could be her dad. How to solve this? Easy. Invite all three to the wedding. Hiding them from her mother Donna, Sophie interrogates the trio of men to work out her paternal heritage. It's difficult to hide on this Greek island for too long, with Donna stumbling across her old flames. Shaken by the news, Sky and Sophie wonder if a wedding really is for them. Love really does conquer all in Mamma Mia! ending in a surprise wedding for all.

Aside from blossoming romances, there's friendly reunions between Donna and the Dynamos, who take over proceedings to pretend they're young again. Set to a soundtrack of ABBA songs, the Mamma Mia! story popularised the Swedish band for a new generation.

When did Mamma Mia! premiere?

Although ABBA are a Swedish pop group, Mamma Mia! premiered in London. The musical opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1999, where it played for just over five years. Mamma Mia! then transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre on 9 June 2004, enjoying its third and final move to date at the Novello Theatre from 6 Sept. 2012.

The North American premiere of Mamma Mia! came a year after the West End production, opening in Toronto in May 2000. Eventually, the Broadway production opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on 18 Oct. 2001, where it ran for 12 years before transferring to the Broadhurst Theatre. Mamma Mia! eventually closed on Broadway on 12 Sept. 2015, however it made history as the longest-running jukebox musical on the Great White Way.

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Who wrote Mamma Mia!?

Mamma Mia! features an original book by Catherine Johnson, a British writer whose works have been produced nationally. Mamma Mia! is her only West End playwriting credit, with further London credits including Little Baby Nothing and Shang-a-Lang at the Bush Theatre. As well as the stage production of Mamma Mia!, Johnson wrote the screenplays for the musical's film adaptation and subsequent sequel. Find out more about Catherine Johnson.

Who wrote the songs in Mamma Mia!?

Mamma Mia! music and lyrics are by the two male members of ABBA: Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Mamma Mia! marked Andersson's second English musical, previously composing songs in Chess. There are no new songs in Mamma Mia! though, as the production is a jukebox musical filled with ABBA songs.

Who is in the cast of Mamma Mia!?

Mazz Murray plays Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! joined by Meg Hateley as Sophie Sheridan and Miles Henderson as Sky. Josie Benson plays Tanya, joined by Gemma Goggin as Rosie, Stephen Beckett as Bill, Norman Bowman as Sam, Christopher Dickins as Harry, Natasha Heyward as Ali, Olivia Lallo as Lisa, Lucca Chadwick-Patel as Eddie, Jake Bailey as Pepper, and Jennifer Adab as Donna at certain performances.

Zac Adlam, Victoria Anderson, Gemma Atkins, Sinéad Courtney, Ellie-Grace Cousins, Lawrence Guntert, Natalie Jayne Hall, David Haydn, Jennifer Hepburn, Frankie Jones, Natalie Langston, Olivia Neville, Annell Odartey, Jessie Odeleye, Callum Rose, Jack Rose, Robert Slatter, Michael Storrs, Chloe Way, Simon Wilmont, Dan Wilshire and Jacob Young complete the Mamma Mia! cast.

What theatre in London is Mamma Mia! playing at?

Mamma Mia! is at the Novello Theatre, where it has been performed since 2012. Opening in 1905, the theatre is named after Welsh composer Ivor Novello, who owned a flat above the theatre. Previous shows at the Novello Theatre include Crazy For You, Betty Blue Eyes and a Royal Shakespeare Company season.

What is the running time of Mamma Mia!?

The running time of Mamma Mia! in London is 2 hours and 35 minutes, including a 15 minute interval. Matinee performances begin at 2:30pm or 3:00pm, and evening performances begin at 7:30pm.

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What are the songs in Mamma Mia!?

Even if you've never seen Mamma Mia! in London before, every theatregoer will know some of the songs in the musical, as they've been released by ABBA. You'll hear the tracks in a new light, including "Voulez-Vous" in a party scene and a heartfelt scene between Donna and Sophie in "Slipping Through My Fingers." Here's all the songs in Mamma Mia! below:

Act 1

"Honey, Honey" - Sophie, Ali & Lisa
"Money, Money, Money" - Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Pepper & Company
"Thank You for the Music" - Sophie, Sam, Harry and Bill
"Mamma Mia" - Donna & Company
"Chiquitita" - Donna, Tanya & Rosie
"Dancing Queen" - Donna, Tanya & Rosie
"Lay All Your Love on Me" - Sky, Sophie & Male Ensemble
"Super Trouper" - Donna, Tanya, Rosie & Female Ensemble
"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" - Female Ensemble
"The Name of the Game" - Sophie & Bill
"Voulez-Vous" - Company

Act 2

"Under Attack" - Sophie & Company
"One of Us" - Donna
"SOS" - Donna & Sam
"Does Your Mother Know" - Tanya, Pepper & Company
"Knowing Me, Knowing You" - Sam
"Our Last Summer" - Harry & Donna
"Slipping Through My Fingers" - Donna & Sophie
"The Winner Takes It All" - Donna
"Take a Chance on Me" - Rosie & Bill
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" - Sam, Donna & Company
"I Have a Dream" - Sophie
"Mamma Mia" - Company
"Dancing Queen" - Donna, Tanya, Rosie & Company
"Waterloo" - Company

What awards has Mamma Mia! won?

Although Mamma Mia! is loved by audiences and critics alike, awarding bodies did not agree. The production has not won many stage awards, with award wins in bold.

Olivier Awards

Best New Musical
Best Actress in a Musical - Siobhan McCarthy
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical - Jenny Galloway
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical - Louise Plowright

Tony Awards

Best Book of a Musical - Catherine Johnson Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical - Louise Pitre Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical - Judy Kaye Best Orchestrations - Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Martin Koch

Is there a film adaptation of Mamma Mia!?

A film adaptation of the Mamma Mia! musical was released in 2008, featuring an all-star cast. Meryl Streep plays Donna, with Amanda Seyfried as Sophie, Christine Baranski as Tanya, Julie Waters as Rosie. Dominic Cooper plays Sky, with the three fathers played by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Forth and Stellan Skarsgård respectively.

Mixing ABBA, a musical movie and this star-studded line-up was a guaranteed box office hit, quickly becoming one of the most commercially successful movies of the 2000s. A movie sequel was released in 2018, with Lily James playing a young Donna Sheridan.

Fun facts about Mamma Mia!

  • Phyllida Lloyd directed the West End production of Mamma Mia! as well as the two movie adaptations: Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
  • Mamma Mia! has been seen by over 50 million people worldwide. It's also played in over 440 cities worldwide — every continent is represented apart from Antartica.
  • There are nine cast recordings of Mamma Mia! worldwide. Once you've listened to the English cast recording, why not enjoy the songs in German, Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, Korean, French, Japanese, and Chinese.
  • Judy Craymer convinced ABBA members Benny and Björn to create an ABBA musical in the back of the car. When Craymer picked the pair up from the airport, she was able to explain why the world needed an ABBA musical. We're grateful she did.
  • To create the "Super Trouper" outfits, 400 metres of Lycra are used.

How do I get tickets for Mamma Mia! in London?

Who can resist the ABBA music and fun in Mamma Mia!? You'll want to book Mamma Mia! musical tickets now to avoid missing out.

Book Mamma Mia! tickets on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: Mamma Mia! Cast (Photo courtesy of Mamma Mia!)

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