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They’re not dancing in the aisles at “Mamma Mia!” anymore.
When this jukebox musical, about a wedding weekend on a Greek island, opened at the Winter Garden Theater back in the fall of 2001 (five weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks), I remember laughing as seemingly mature adult couples began to leap out of their orchestra seats, flashing big smiles and bouncing and swaying like giddy teenagers to the (then) 20-year-old Abba tunes that made up most of the show.
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Nic Rouleau, center, stars as Elder Price in the current company of “The Book of Mormon” at the Eugene O’Neill Theater.Checking Back: ‘The Book of Mormon’ on Broadway Retains Its CharmsAUG. 20, 2014
Norm Lewis, nominated for a Tony Award in 2012, plays the title role in the lavish musical.Checking Back: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Retains Its LusterAUG. 17, 2014
Almost 13 years later, in a new theater (the Broadhurst, since last fall) and several degrees of separation from the original cast, “Mamma Mia!” doesn’t seem to inspire that kind of fervor anymore. On the other hand, the music — Abba hits by the group’s members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (with a little help from Stig Anderson) — still has what it has, energy and catchiness and emotional immediacy. Catherine Johnson’s book has been criticized, justifiably, as less than Pulitzer Prize-worthy, but you have to admire the forthrightness with which she set out to build a story connecting songs like “Honey, Honey,” “Money Money Money,” “Chiquitita” and “The Winner Takes It All.” The script is distinguished by her deadpan dialogue lead-ins.
What Do You Remember From the First Time You Saw ‘Mamma Mia!’?
We’d like to hear from you. Share you memories and recollections about the first performance of “Mamma Mia!” that you saw.