Drilling Delays Mamma Mia Move to Prince of WalesDate: 14 May 2004
The transfer of Mamma Mia! and reopening of its new home, the West End’s Prince of Wales, which has been undergoing a £7 million refurbishment over the past year, have been delayed by a week.
According to producers, the noise created by ongoing drilling work has made it impossible for the cast and crew of the hit Abba musical, which last month celebrated its fifth anniversary at the Prince Edward Theatre, to rehearse in the new venue. They have granted builders an extra week to finish the job before they return.
Mamma Mia! was due to have its last performance at the 1,600-seat Prince Edward, where it opened in April 1999, on 22 May 2004, before reopening five days later, on Thursday, 27 May 2004, at the 1,100-seat Prince of Wales, where the show is booking up to 5 March 2005.
Instead, it will now play an extra seven performances at the Prince Edward up to 29 May and then transfer to the Prince of Wales Theatre on 3 June, with a new press night set for 9 June 2004. Evening performances scheduled for 31 May, 1 and 2 June as well as the 5.00pm matinee on Friday 28 May have been cancelled.
During the building makeover undertaken by theatre owner Cameron Mackintosh, the Prince of Wales has been gutted and rebuilt, restoring it to its 1930s art deco glory (See News, 10 Jan 2003), with special accommodations for Mamma Mia!, which is itself having a makeover, featuring new props and upgraded costumes as well as a fully automated set.
Set on a Greek island, Mamma Mia! centres on a young woman who, preparing for her wedding day, has invited three of her mother's former lovers in an attempt to discover the identity of her father. The musical's original book, by Catherine Johnson, is interspersed with ABBA disco classics such as "Dancing Queen", "Thank You for the Music", "Take a Chance on Me" and the title song.
The production is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and designed by Mark Thompson, with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, lighting by Howard Harrison, sound by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken and musical supervision by Martin Koch. The musical is produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East and Abba’s Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.
Mamma Mia! will be followed at the Prince Edward by the much-anticipated stage adaptation of movie musical classic Mary Poppins. It opens at the theatre on 15 December 2004, after an initial run in Bristol from 15 September to 6 November 2004 (See News, 11 Nov & 20 Oct 2003).
- by Terri Paddock