Mamma Mia! has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide. It has opened in more major cities faster than any other musical in theater history. So far, it has had productions in over 325 cities including Melbourne, Barcelona, Stockholm, Tokyo, Seoul and Moscow
Mamma Mia! isn’t the first attempt at employing the ABBA catalogue for a stage musical. Abbacadabra was originally a French TV special that employed ABBA songs with altered French lyrics to tell classic fairy tales. In 1983, it was adapted to the London stage and ran for eight weeks. It’s probably most notable for being the first show that British stage star Elaine Paige did after Cats.
According to Variety, the play’s original producer Judy Craymer and writer Catherine Johnson “were broke when they first tried to put the show together and were even snubbed by the Swedish pop group whose music formed the basis for the show. They are now two of the wealthiest women in England.” Craymer met ABBA’s songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson when the two were working on the musical Chess with lyricist Tim Rice in 1983. Craymer was inspired by “The Winner Takes It All” to use the ABBA songs in a musical-theater format. The Swedish team were not initially enthusiastic about the idea, but they did not rule out the idea. In 1997, Craymer commissioned Johnson to write the book for the musical.
The 2008 film version of Mamma Mia! starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Stellan Skarsgard is the highest-grossing live-action movie musical of all time in terms of worldwide gross, taking in over $600 million.
During one particularly loving year (2005), eight female cast members of the Broadway company got engaged and three cast members got married.
The London company of Mamma Mia! supplies Lycra for the Super Trouper costumes for all the international productions. Their orders for the fabric saved an Italian mill from going out of business.
Mamma Mia! was the first Mandarin-language production of a Western musical in China when it opened at the Shanghai Grand Theatre in July 11, 2011. The production then toured to Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chongqing, Xian and back to Shanghai.