Details have been confirmed today for next year's West End house move of Mamma Mia!. The Abba musical blockbuster will play its last performance at the 1,600-seat Prince Edward Theatre, where it opened in April 1999, on 22 May 2004. The following Thursday, 27 May 2004, it will reopen at the 1,100-seat Prince of Wales Theatre, where the show has now extended its booking period by nine months up to 5 March 2005.

The Prince of Wales is currently 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 cast is currently led by Louise Plowright. 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 £100,000,000 and more than half a billion dollars worldwide. It opened on Broadway in October 2001, one of ten productions now playing around the globe, including one just opened in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

The Abba musical will be followed at the Prince Edward by the much-anticipated stage adaptation of movie musical classic Mary Poppins, which 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).

NOTE: Public booking opens on 1 December for Prince of Wales dates.

- by Terri Paddock