Attention musical theater fans! Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again opens in theaters today. The second installment in the series partially takes place after the last one, juxtaposed with flashback scenes of a young Donna (originally played by Meryl Streep, the younger version is played by Lily James) as she’s falling in and out of love with Sophie’s dad(s).
So you’ve seen the first movie - and maybe you’ve even seen the show live! But how much do you actually know about the original Broadway production? Here are a few facts for you to tuck away and impress your friends (or parents) with when you see the movie this weekend.
- Mamma Mia! is based on the songs of the group ABBA, a Swedish pop band that was popular in the 1970’s. (Okay okay, you probably knew that already).
- Producer Judy Craymer first got the idea to turn their music into a show when she was working with two of the band members, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, on Tim Rice’s show Chess.
- The UK version (which was the first version) opened on the West End in 1999. It is still running, and currently holds the spot for the eighth-longest-running show ever to play the West End.
- After running on Broadway for 14 years, the show played its final New York City show in September of 2015. It is currently the ninth-longest-running show in Broadway history.
- The original Broadway show, along with the 2008 film version, was choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. Trained at the London School of Contemporary dance, his work extends beyond Mamma Mia!. He also choreographed Sister Act (on Broadway and the West End), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Choreography for his work alongside Farah Khan on Bombay Dreams. He was also an Olivier Award nominee for Best Theatre Choreographer in 1994.
And now, in honor of the film’s release, please enjoy this writer’s favorite dance scene from the first movie, which includes a line of singing men parading around in snorkel gear (bonus if you catch the Four Little Swans moment!)