Mamma Mia! hits the stage in Sydney

Suzie Mathers

A spectacular new talent made her debut in a leading role whilst some veterans showed why they are some of Australia’s best musical theatre talents at the opening night performance of the musical Mamma Mia! in Sydney on Thursday night.

The show opened in front of a capacity audience at the Lyric Theatre, where it will play until early next year before touring the country.

Suzie Mathers, fresh from the chorus of Wicked, took the role of Sophie in her first major lead role – just two years out of WAAPA – and produced a stellar performance, cementing her position as one of the true future stars of the business.

But it was the veterans of the industry that really stole the show – the sensational Anne Wood, the simply dynamic Michael Cormick and the hilarious Jenny Vuletic.

The premiere performance at the Lyric Theatre was followed by an after-party, where invited guests mingled with the cast and crew.

Inspired by the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

Mamma Mia! had its Australian Premiere in June 2001 and the production played for four years to over 2.2 million people in eight cities across four countries. Record-breaking seasons were enjoyed in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Mamma Mia! then played to sell-out crowds in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The musical enjoyed return seasons in Brisbane and Melbourne and closed after 1527 performances as the show celebrated its 4th Anniversary.

From West End smash to global phenomenon, Mamma Mia! has been seen by more than 40 million people in over 200 cities across North America, Australia, Europe and Asia, faster than any other musical in history and has grossed over $2 billion at the box office worldwide.

The original London production opened in 1999 and has been seen by over 5 million people, grossing over £185 million at the UK Box Office. The International Tour is in its fifth year of touring, having been seen by over three million people in cities as diverse as Cape Town, Zurich, Dublin, Beijing, Taipei, Berlin, Paris, Lisbon, Pretoria, Dubai, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv, Riga, Shanghai, Helsinki, Bratislava, Prague, Glasgow and Budapest.

Last summer, Judy Craymer, Catherine Johnson and Phyllida Lloyd reprised their roles as producer, author and director respectively for a film version of the show, which has come the most successful movie musical of all time.

With music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken and musical supervision, additional material and arrangements by Martin Koch.

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