Two West End musicals - Abba's Mamma Mia! and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Bollywood-set Bombay Dreams - have announced extensions to their booking periods.

At the Prince Edward Theatre, Mamma Mia! has added two months to its booking period, taking it up to 22 May 2004, after which it's expected to transfer to the Prince of Wales Theatre, about to undergo a £7 million refurbishment (See News, 10 Jan 2003). The musical features ABBA disco classics such as "Dancing Queen", "Thank You for the Music", "Take a Chance on Me" and the title song. It has an original book by Catherine Johnson, is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and designed by Mark Thompson.

Worldwide, Mamma Mia! has grossed more than $500 million. It opened on Broadway in October 2001, one of multiple productions currently playing around the globe. Audiences in London - where it opened at the Prince Edward on 6 April 1999 (previews from 23 March) - have passed the two and a half million mark, equating to more than £80 million grossed at the box office. The London cast currently features Louise Plowright and Alexandra Jay.


Meanwhile, at the Apollo Victoria, Bombay Dreams, which this week celebrates its first birthday in the West End, has extended its booking period by five months. The musical received its world premiere on 19 June 2002 (previews from 31 May) and is now taking booking up to March 2004.

In Bombay Dreams, young slum-dweller Akaash dreams of becoming a huge star in Bollywood, the £750 million Indian industry that produces and internationally distributes some 600 films a year. His encounter with beautiful Priya and her father, a corrupt movie mogul, sets him on his way. But is Akaash willing to pay the price of fame? And can his and Priya's love survive?

The musical has music by AR Rahman, with English song lyrics by Don Black and a book by Meera Syal. It's directed by Steven Pimlott, choreographed by Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan and designed by Mark Thompson. Lloyd Webber has invest £250,000 in recasting the London production which, from 17 June 2003, will feature Stephen Rahman-Hughes (as Akaash), Zehra Naqvi (Priya), Ravin J Ganatra (Madan), Munir Khairdin (Vikram), Royce Ulla (JK), Sohphiya Haque (Rani) and Nila Aalia (Kitty), with Raj Ghatak remaining as Sweetie.

- by Terri Paddock