NEW YORK – Mamma Mia!, Broadway’s dancing queen, will close in September after a 14-year run that included two theatres and made it the eighth-longest running show on the Great White Way.
Producers said Thursday that the frothy musical that uses ABBA songs will close Sept. 5 after 5,765 performances. It has grossed more than $600 million — quite a lot of “Money, Money, Money” — and outlasted over 500 other Broadway productions.
A hit in London, the show opened in New York in dark times, just a few weeks after the 2001 terror attacks. The New York reception turned out to be much like everywhere else.
The feel-good show — featuring more than 20 classic ABBA hits, including “Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” — has been a hit in dozens of countries, including Canada, South Korea, Italy, Denmark, South Africa and Spain.
Producer Judy Craymer conceived of the show in the 1980s and approached members of ABBA. Instead of doing a musical about the band, she insisted their songs help tell an original story.
“I love musicals and I loved ABBA’s songs and I genuinely believe that those songs were very theatrical,” Craymer explained in 2013 when the show left the Winter Garden Theatre after 12 years to its current home at the Broadhurst Theatre.
“To me, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ was the big 11 o’clock number. That has to be sung onstage by a woman. That is the ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.’ And that’s where it started.”
Craymer teamed up with playwright Catherine Johnson and a story set on a Greek island was born: A young woman who is about to be married wants her father to give her away.
The musical also prompted Craymer to produce a movie version starring Meryl Streep that boosted the show’s box office. The musical has resonated so much that it has in some ways become better known than the people who created the songs.
“People hear ABBA and they go, ‘That’s Mamma Mia!” said Craymer.