Since its 1999 debut, the musical Mamma Mia! has been seen by over 55 million people worldwide. Now Björn Ulvaeus plans to bring the same combination of ABBA music and Aegean atmosphere to Stockholm with a Greek taverna where customers will get to experience the Mamma Mia! excitement not just as spectators but as active participants.
‘I’ve experienced the happy, warm and expectant mood of audiences in theatres around the world when the first notes of Mamma Mia! ring out across the auditorium. And when people stand up in the aisles and sing and dance at the end. That’s the feeling I’d like to create with Mamma Mia! the Party,’ said Björn Ulvaeus, one fourth of ABBA, the pop legends whose career rocketed after winning Eurovision for Sweden back in 1974.
The official press release for Mamma Mia! The Party describes Björn’s vision for the project as one of ‘guests, waiters, waitresses, musicians and artists interacting and creating the atmosphere of a party in a Greek taverna, inspired by the tavernas in Skopelos, where Mamma Mia! the Movie was filmed; complete with olive trees, fountain and the scent of rosemary and a warm breeze from the Mediterranean Sea. With the help of ABBA songs the participants will write the story of that particular night, then and there. Mamma Mia!’
It sounds as if Björn will be ditching Austria for Greece, as Mamma Mia! The Party will open at the Tyrol restaurant, located in famous Stockholm amusement park Gröna Lund. Restaurant Tyrol has been a bierstube (beer hall) for over forty years in its current Austrian incarnation. Björn’s plans for the restaurant are quite different: ‘this is an experiment, just like the musical was. This time around the audience/guests are part of a story in real time with not only song and dance being the ingredients, but also food, wine and environment. If it turns out the way I hope, there are no limits. It could become a very big party, indeed. We start at Djurgården in Stockholm, only a few yards from where ABBA the Museum is located. A perfect place for it!’
The Mamma Mia! stage musical premiered at London’s Prince Edward Theatre on 6th April 1999 and it has since been presented in 16 different languages over 49 different productions. Including classic ABBA hits such as Super Trooper, Lay All Your Love On Me and Dancing Queen, the show was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried and Julie Walters in 2008 and remains very popular today – there are currently productions of the stage show in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York as well as numerous others internationally.
Mamma Mia! The Party is expected to follow in the footsteps of the show’s success and become a popular Stockholm tourist attraction; it will premiere on 20th January 2016 at the Tyrol restaurant and tickets go on sale on 25th August 2015 via www.mammamiatheparty.com.
In the following videos, you can watch Björn Ulvaeus describing his vision behind the Mamma Mia! The Party experiment (in English) as well as the way the news was reported in Greece on ET3 News (in Greek and Swedish).