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Mamma Mia returns with British cast
JANUARY 21, 2014 03:13  
Mamma Mia is the first musical made by women. Just as the musical features three heroines, Donna, Tanya and Rosie, the birth of Mamma Mia involves three women of the same age. The musical is a brainchild of producer Judy Craymer who decided to make it based on the hit songs of ABBA, Sweden`s legendary pop group. Craymer commissioned famous British playwright Catherine Johnson to write the book for the musical, which was later directed by highly acclaimed theater and opera director Phyllida Lloyd. And yes, the three women did it.

Since opening in London`s West End in 1999, Mamma Mia has thrilling worldwide audiences for 15 years, as it was seen by over 54 million people and grossing 2 billion U.S. dollars in ticket sales. The musical has been on stage in more than 400 cities, making a significant milestone in the world`s musical history. In 2008, a film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnon and Amanda Seyfried was released in 2008, which gained over 500 million dollars in revenue.

Mamma Mia has also marked a milestone in Korea`s performing arts field. Mid-age people who tend to be less enthusiastic in performing arts flocked to see the musical, which contributed to the popularization of musicals in the country. In January 2004, the show was performed in Seoul Arts Center and gained enthusiastic response. Mothers sang Abba songs in singing rooms and were immersed in dancing when Dancing Queen flew out.

January 25 marks the 10th year of Mamma Mia`s performance in Korea. During the past 10 years it was performed 1,287 times, gaining 1.71 million audiences in 22 cities, which led to 107 billion won (101 million dollars) in sales. British cast from the original London production currently performing in Korea to mark the 10th anniversary of the musical`s Korea premier. Korea has grown into a large musical consumer, but has yet to create a musical that can become a global hit. The birth of Mamma Mia in the U.K. was due to the British government`s active support for culture content start-ups. People often link information technology and telecommunications to creative economy. Yet Mamma Mia shows that content is the very foundation of creation.

Editorial Writer Chung Seong-hui (shchung@donga.com)

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