Image Credit: Joan MarcusWhen Mamma Mia! debuted in New York City on Oct. 18, 2001, EW’s film critic Owen Gleiberman lavished the ABBA-inspired production with a B+ grade and lots of praise: “Mamma Mia! has no pretenses, yet for anyone whose pulse has ever been quickened by an ABBA chord change, it leaves you dizzy, uplifted, enraptured. Feeling like a number one.” The show turned on its ABBA hits, ranging from, of course, “Mamma Mia!” and “Dancing Queen” to “Lay All Your Love on Me” and “Super Trouper.”
Nearly nine years later, the show is still doing its addictive boogie eight times a week as the fourth-longest-running show currently on the Great White Way. After revisiting it as part of our series looking at the five longest-running shows, the news on how the show itself holds up is mixed. The more than 3,000 performances have taken a toll on the disco beats. Yes, the music is still toe-tappingly delightful, but some of the casting (think more youthful!) and part of the production (better colors!) could be freshened. Ultimately, though, it’s a show that will always do it for fun lovers — who can resist middle-aged singers dancing around in ABBA-inspired disco garb? Yeah, I didn’t think so. (See my full review here.) Have any of you out there seen Mamma Mia! lately? Were you inspired to get up and sing “Dancing Queen”?
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky
Tomorrow: I finish our series on Broadway’s longest-running shows with a revisit to the magic of Wicked.
Second Take: Stage Review: ‘Mamma Mia!’