Plowright Takes Over Mamma Mia LeadDate: 29 February 2000
Louise Plowright will take over next month from Siobhan McCarthy in the lead role of the Abba-inspired hit musical Mamma Mia at the Prince Edward Theatre as McCarthy, Jenny Galloway and the rest of the original cast depart at the end of their contracts. From 20 March, Plowright will play mother Donna with newcomers Julie Atherton and Gareth Bryn, both making their West End debuts, stepping in as daughter Sophie and her fiance Sky.
Plowright currently stars as former band member Tanya in the show, a part for which she received a Laurence Olivier nomination for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical, losing out for the award to co-star Galloway. Her other stage credits include High Society, Les Miserables and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. On television, she played Julie Cooper in EastEnders.
The new cast will also include Louise Gold (as Tanya), Lesley Nicol (Rosie), Nicolas Colicos (Bill), Craig Pinder (Harry) and Michael Simkins (Sam).
Mamma Mia has been a sell-out since it opened at the Prince Edward on 4 April 1999, following previews from 23 March. The show continues to break all box office records at the theatre and is currently booking until 17 March 2001, with an advance box office in excess of £8 million. The first international production opens in Toronto on 23 May.
Mamma Mia has music and lyrics by Abba stars Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. The original musical, which tells the story of a mother and daughter on the eve of the daughter's wedding, has a book by Catherine Johnson. It is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast with design by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Howard Harrison