The Stage Show "Mamma Mia!"
Book: Catherine Johnson
Music & Lyrics: Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus and some songs with Stig Anderson
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Production designed by Mark Thompson
Cast: Louise Pitre (Donna Sheridan), Tina Madigan (Sophie Sheridan), Judy Kaye (Rosie), Karen Mason (Tanya). also: Joe Machota (Sky), David Keeley (Sam), Ken Marks (Bill), Dean Nolen (Harry), Tonya Doran (Lisa), Sara Inbar (Ali), Mark Price (Pepper) and Michael B. Washington (Eddie).
Ensemble: Meredith Akins, Stephan Alexander, Kim-e J. Balmilero, Robin Baxter, Brent Black, Tony Carlin, Bill Carmichael, Meghann Dreyfuss, Barrett Foa, Jon-Erik Goldberg, Somer Lee Graham, Hollie Howard, Kristin McDonald, Adam Monley, Jeanine Morick, Chris Prinzo, Peter Matthew Smith, Yuka Takara, and Marsha Waterbury.
Choreographer: Anthony Van Laast
Musical Supervisor, additional material and arrangements: Martin Koch
Lighting Design: Howard Harrison
Sound Design: Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitkin
The 22 Songs (in alphabetical order): Chiquitita; Dancing Queen; Does Your Mother Know; Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight); Honey, Honey; I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do; I Have a Dream; Knowing Me, Knowing You; Lay All Your Love On Me; Mamma Mia; Money, Money, Money; One Of Us; Our Last Summer; Slipping Through My Fingers; S.O.S. Super Trouper; Take a Chance On Me; Thank You For the Music; The Name of the Game; The Winner Takes It All; Under Attack; Voulez-Vous
The Band: David Holcenberg — music director/condustor/keyboard 1; Rob Preuss — associate music director/keyboard 3; Myles Chase — keyboard 4; Doug Quinn — guitar1; Jeff Campbell — guitar 2; Paul Adamy — bass; Gary Tillman — drums; David Nyberg — percussion; Steve Marcullo — keyboard 2; music coordinator — Michael Keller; Nick Gilpin — synthesizer programmer
Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.
The OVERTURE is played loudly in keeping with the show's style — a medley of themes from a few of the well-known ABBA songs.
The story is set on a "tiny island in Greece" in the present day (summer 2000, if you work it out from the dates within the story, but the show actually opened in 1999).
Exterior. Sophie Sheriden, alone on the stage, mails letters to three men: "Sam Carmichael, Bill Austin, Harry Bright". She then begins to sing I HAVE A DREAM.
Her reverie is interrupted by the arrival of her two friends and bridesmaids, Ali and Lisa.
"We couldn't let you get married without your bridesmaids!" Sophie informs her friends that she needs their help, for she has invited her Dad to her wedding. They are excited to hear Sophie may have found out who her father is, as she reads her mother's diary from 1979 — the year she would have been conceived. Her mother has written about three men she saw at the same time and how she felt. Sophie reads aloud the three entries all starting with the words "What a night!", in which her Mum got a man to row her across to a little island, and then "one thing lead to another and — dot dot dot." The girls sing HONEY HONEY, as if the lyrics were written in the dairy, and make fun of what is written. Sophie tells them she has written to all three men, and invited them to the wedding in the hope of finding out which one is her father. Only problem is, she made the invites look like they came from her mother, who doesn't know anything about this! She wants her father to walk her down the aisle, but first she has to find out which one he is, and she's got 24 hours in which to do it.
Interior, taverna lobby (or hallway). The mother (Donna) is surprised by her two old-time girlfriends, Tanya and Rosie, arriving with luggage. They are thrilled to see each other. The three used to be a band — "Donna and the Dynamos". Tanya is the first to speak, she is taller, confident and a little snobby. The other is Rosie, more practical and a bit vulgar and sarcastic.
Donna introduces them to Sky, Sophie's fiancee, and two of her staff Pepper and Eddie (who are also buddies of Sky), and shortly after Sophie comes in to say hi to "Aunt Rosie and Aunt Tanya". Donna, Tanya (who has been married and divorced three times) and Rosie begin to reminisce about old times, and soon Donna sings MONEY MONEY MONEY surrounded by the company.
Same interior — most of the company leaves. The three possible fathers — Sam, Bill and Harry, arrive together with their luggage. They recall their memories of the island. Sam sees that Donna has built the taverna from his designs.
Sophie greets the men, delighted to see that all three came — but obviously wondering, which one is my father?
Harry finds a guitar he had bought for Donna for 10 quid, and starts playing a song he remembers from 20 years ago, he used to play it to Donna, THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC. Sophie is amazed that he knows a song her mother taught her during her childhood.
Sam says he is so glad that Donna invited him, and then Sophie stops him — "She doesn't know you're here — I invited you all!" Sophie says she wants it to be a surprise for her Mum "who is always talking about the old days". Sophie asks the men to pretend to have come here on a holiday or something, because Donna "has got herself in a right state about this wedding" so she does not think she'll be happy to discover "unexpected guests". The men were almost about to leave, but Sophie convinces them, giving them their room keys and leaving.
Donna enters in work clothes, ready to repair something with a power drill. She turns around with surprise, Sam says hi! — then Bill appears in another corner and says Hi! and finally Harry. Then men freeze, as Donna suddenly remembers everything that happened with these three men, walking among them and singing MAMMA MIA as she recalls the three old love affairs.
Interior, Rosie and Tanya's bedroom. They flip a coin for the bed, and Rosie wins. Tanya, disgusted, tries in vain to inflate an air mattress. Rosie suggests, "Blow, don't suck!". Tanya joins Rosie on the bed as they talk about various things. Then they discover an old trunk, with clothes and a poster from their band. "Weren't we young?" remarks Tanya.
Donna enters, afraid that the men are on the island because they have figured out they might be Sophie's father, and that Sophie will find out Donna does not even know which one it is. She explains this to Tanya and Rosie. They show her the poster, and she tears it in half "Oh, get rid of it!" They try to comfort her, singing "CHIQUITITA, tell me whats wrong, I have never seen such sorrow"
Tanya suggests that they should "Show Sophie what a groovy mom she's got" by doing one of their old numbers at the ladies' "hen night" party that evening. Donna will have nothing of it — so Rosie with hair brush, Tanya with hair dryer in hand, break into DANCING QUEEN. Eventually, Donna with a sunscreen bottle joins in. (Perhaps intended to remind audience members of their past, as young girls in their bedroom pretending to be Agnetha & Frida.)
Exterior, beach. Sky is about to head out in the boat with the guys (Sky has to dive on an old shipwreck seeking a pearl necklace — if he finds it, his marriage will be blessed). Sophie wants him not to go, Sky replies "It's my last chance to have fun!" and Sophie's feelings are hurt. Sophie and Sky sing about their love and their fears. "I wasn't jealous before me met, now every man I see is a potential threat ... LAY ALL YOUR LOVE ON ME". The male cast join Sky in diving suits (and re-enter with flippers and snorkel gear for the last verse). While the song ends the scene shifts to Interior, taverna and the women's "hen night" party.
"For one night, and one night only, it's Donna And The Dynamos in all their wrinkly glory". "Speak for yourself" interjects Donna, undaunted Tanya continues "And they are just going to do one number, that's all we've got breath for!". Donna, Tanya and Rosie perform SUPER TROUPER, in silver jumpsuits with thesequins, and go-go boots.
Sam, Bill and Harry crash the party — "should we leave you women alone?" No, they reply, and sing GIMME GIMME GIMME (A MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT). During this song Sophie confronts Sam, asks him about his relationship with her mother, and then asks him to give her away. The other two men (Harry, and then Bill) also talk with her, assume she's inviting them to walk her down the aisle, and tell her they will. Sophie's dilemma is clear.
Sophie asks Bill "What's THE NAME OF THE GAME, do you feel it the way I do?" At the end of the song she has three fathers and three people giving her away! The nightmare begins as Donna tells her that she will be giving her away.
Sophie and Sky have a fight. Everyone sings VOULEZ-VOUS. Rosie and Tanya are back, now in normal clothes. During this song Pepper, is clearly quite interested in Tanya, and they dance very seductively with each other.
ENTR'ACTE — another medley of themes from ABBA songs
ACT TWO - THE DAY OF THE WEDDING
Lying in bed, Sophie has a nightmare of what is to come, three fathers to give her away — she feels like she is UNDER ATTACK. The cast is in flourescent swim suits and floral bathing caps. Someone walks in wearing a wedding dress, then lifts the veil and Sophie sees that it's Sky!
Interior kitchen. Sophie was sleepwalking, and Donna finds her in the kitchen. Donna asks Sophie what's troubling her, and suggests that the wedding could be cancelled easily. Sophie exits.
Donna is visited by Sam, confronting her about Sophie and what happened to them 20 years ago. They sing ONE OF US.
Sky, Pepper and Eddie enter, clearly drunk, with a set of bagpipes. Donna sends Sky away to sober up, then dispatches the others to get the dishes ready for breakfast tomorrow, and to take the remaining guests out in the boat "they want to look for more necklaces — it will keep them happy and out of the way".
Then Sam enters, spotting his old bagpipes, Donna informs him "There're for scaring off unwanted visitors". There is still some kind of spark between them. Sam sings S.O.S., joined by Donna and the cast.
Exterior beach. Tanya is lying out in the sun, and Pepper approaches her — both are hung over. He tries to seduce her. She tries to ward him off, playfully swing her basket into his face, and saying "I'm old enough to be your mother!". He continues to try to go for her, and she launches into a song, "well I could dance with you honey, if you think its funny but DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW that you're out?".
Sam enters, wondering "What does a father do at his daughter's wedding". He asks the thrice-married Tanya, who replies sharply "generally he pays — but mine drew the line at number three.". Sam asks if her father used to say anything to her on her wedding day, she replies "He used to say, 'Darling, I know a good lawyer'" and then adds "But why are we talking about my Dad?". Tanya exits.
Sophie enters, and Sam tries to make her think seriously about whether she really wants to get married, as these things don't always work out. Referring to Sophie and Sky's fight, and recalling his first marriage, good days, bad days sings KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU.
Interior, Donna's bedroom. Harry walks in to give Donna a check, she is surprised "This would pay for four weddings! — and a funeral!" Then Harry and Donna sing, recalling "OUR LAST SUMMER" (Note that Harry's name appears in the song — at Benny and Bjorn's request, none of the lyrics have been changed — instead the details of the story were chosen to fit the lyrics)
Harry leaves, Sophie walks in and Donna helps her get ready for the wedding, recalling how as she grew up time went SLIPPING THROUGH MY FINGERS.
Interior taverna. Donna confronts Sam, sings to him THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL, fighting to hold back the way she has always felt about him.
Interior church — Rosie is putting finishing touches on the decorations as Bill walks in. They talk and realize they have things in common: both are writers, neither wants marriage. Bill says he'd like to find a partner "one day", and Rosie replies, "If you change your mind, I'll be first in line. Honey I'm still free — TAKE A CHANCE ON ME".
At the wedding Sophie and Sky realize marriage isn't for them, they want to be carefree and see the world together. Harry encourages them, telling Donna she was the first and last woman he loved, there are all types of families in this world — and for him "family" is he and his partner Peter (or "Nigel" in the UK production).
Sam siezes the moment "why let a wedding go to waste?" and asks Donna to marry him. The women encourage Donna to say I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO!. The scene changes quickly as they get married, Sam carries her out the door and then everyone is at the reception, dancing.
Exterior, open countryside. Sophie and Sky, after the wedding, now have backpacks and are ready to begin seeing the world. They say goodbye to Donna, Sam, Bill, Harry, and then walk off into the moonlight, as they sing I HAVE A DREAM.
The Company end the show sing a medley from the show: MAMMA MIA, DANCING QUEEN, and WATERLOO.
This was compiled, edited and corrected, using all of the following sources:
This page was written in the "embarrassingly readable" markup language RHTF, and was last updated on 2020 Mar 26. s.11