Producers of Abba West End musical blockbuster Mamma Mia! have announced details for the show’s sixth cast, who will also see it through its spring move from the Prince Edward to the Prince of Wales Theatre (See News, 14 Nov 2003).

Joining the cast from 9 February 2004 will be Vivien Parry (as Donna Sheridan), Marcus D'Amico (Sam Carmichael), Dean Stobbart (Sky), Lara Mulcahy (Rosie), Robert Hands (Harry Bright), Dale Rapley (Bill Austin), Kieran Jay (Pepper), Louise Raven (Ali) and Kelly Price (Lisa). Alexandra Jay (Sophie Sheridan), Kim Ismay (Tanya) and Jamie Wilkin (Eddie) continue in their roles for another year.

Mamma Mia! plays its last performance at the 1,600-seat Prince Edward Theatre, where it opened in April 1999, on 22 May 2004. Five days later, on Thursday, 27 May 2004, it will reopen at the 1,100-seat Prince of Wales Theatre, where the show is currently booking up to 5 March 2005.

The Prince of Wales is undergoing a £7 million refurbishment (See News, 10 Jan 2003), with special accommodations for the show, which will itself have a high-tech makeover. In its new home, Mamma Mia! will feature 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. Judy Craymer produces.

To date, Mamma Mia! has grossed over £100 million in London and more than half a billion dollars worldwide. It opened on Broadway in October 2001, one of 11 productions now playing around the globe. The London production celebrates its fifth birthday on 6 April 2004, which also marks the 30th anniversary of Abba’s Eurovision win with “Waterloo”.

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 from 15 September to 6 November 2004 (See News, 11 Nov & 20 Oct 2003).

- by Terri Paddock