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Mamma Mia! by the numbers

Mamma Mia! in numbers

credit: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

How Mamma Mia! became an enduring musical phenomenon

Featuring songs by 1970s and 80s chart toppers Abba, hit musical Mamma Mia! has been winning over crowds in venues across the world for almost two decades. As the show arrives back in Edinburgh on its current UK tour, we take a look at the numbers that add up to success …

3 – The number of men young bride-to-be Sophie invites to her Greek island home at the start of the show, to work out which one is her father. Twenty years earlier, her mum Donna had dalliances with Sam, Bill and Harry all in the same month – making Mamma Mia! something of a 'who done it?'.

15 – That's how many years it took producer Judy Craymer to bring the show to the stage. Struck by the narrative potential of 'The Winner Takes it All', Craymer first suggested the idea of a stage musical to Abba songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson in 1983. The duo were sceptical at first but open to persuasion – thankfully, Craymer didn't give up.

16 – Between 1974 and 1983, Abba had no less than 18 Top Ten singles in the UK charts – 16 of which made it into Mamma Mia!. The show features an impressive seven Number One singles: 'Dancing Queen', 'Super Trouper', 'Name of the Game', 'Mamma Mia', 'Knowing Me Knowing You', 'The Winner Takes it All' and 'Take a Chance on Me'.

17 – Since opening at the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End on 6 April 1999, Mamma Mia! has been running – in one venue or another – for 17 years. It is the 8th longest running show in West End history and, coincidentally, was the 8th longest running show on Broadway when it closed in 2015. So it must be doing something right.

21 – Back in the day, Abba impressed everyone by writing so eloquently in English, when their native language is Swedish. Since then, however, the songs have been translated into 21 languages for productions of Mamma Mia! around the world, including Korean, Mandarin, Russian and Icelandic. Original cast recordings of the show have been released in seven different languages.

23 – That's how many Abba songs appear in the show, cleverly pieced together to move the narrative along. Some are upbeat and fun ('Dancing Queen', 'Lay All Your Love on Me', 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!', 'Under Attack') and some will have you reaching for the tissues ('Slipping Through My Fingers', 'The Winner Takes it All').

40 – Like Abba themselves, Mamma Mia! has been embraced by audiences across the globe. So far, productions have toured to, or had long residencies in, over 40 countries including Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Qatar, China and much of Europe.

60 million – An estimated 60 million people have seen Mamma Mia! since the show started. With that number set to rise as crowds head to Edinburgh Playhouse this Christmas, to welcome the show back to Scotland for the first time in 12 years.

Mamma Mia!, Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 29 Nov–Sat 7 Jan 2017.

Mamma Mia!

  • Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
  • Written by: Catherine Johnson, Benny Andersson (music & lyrics), Bjorn Ulvaeus (music & lyrics)

The smash hit musical based on the songs of Abba continues to storm the UK. Since premiering in London this funny comedy has been seen by over 54 million people all around the world. Featuring songs including 'Dancing Queen', 'Super Trouper' and 'Take A Chance On Me'.

Novello Theatre, London WC2B

Mon 18 Dec

£18–£120 / 0844 482 5170

Part of Family Arts Festival.

Tue 19 Dec

£18–£120 / 0844 482 5170

Part of Family Arts Festival.

Wed 20 Dec

£18–£120 / 0844 482 5170

Part of Family Arts Festival.

…and 260 more dates until 20 Oct 2018

Palace Theatre, Manchester

Tue 3 Jul 2018

£15–£59.50 / 0844 847 2275

Wed 4 Jul 2018

£15–£59.50 / 0844 847 2275

Thu 5 Jul 2018

£15–£59.50 / 0844 847 2275

…and 8 more dates until 14 Jul 2018

Royal and Derngate, Northampton

Tue 23 Jan 2018

£15–£53.50 / 01604 624 811

  • 19:30

Wed 24 Jan 2018

£15–£53.50 / 01604 624 811

  • 19:30

Thu 25 Jan 2018

£15–£53.50 / 01604 624 811

  • 14:30
  • 19:30
…and 8 more dates until 3 Feb 2018

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