After ‘Mamma Mia!,’ ‘Phantom of the Opera’?

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Looks like Metro Manila will have a very musical Year of the Dragon as 2012 starts off with the much-awaited Abba hit musical.

“Mamma Mia!” opens Jan. 24 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, featuring an international cast that’s fresh off its performance in Zurich.

The cast assembles veteran theater artists from the West End, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and other theater institutions in the UK, and also veterans of film and TV in the UK.

In the lead are Sara Poyzer as Donna, the mother of the bride-to-be Sophie whose life is suddenly astir as her daughter invites her three possible fathers to her wedding. Sophie is played by Charlotte Wakefield, a nominee for Best Actress in a musical in the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards.

The musical, which was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep, was based on the music of the ’70s hit group Abba. Its creative producer Judy Craymer first met the songwriting geniuses behind Abba—Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. Their collaboration gave birth to the musical.

It opened on West End in London and, 10 years ago, on Broadway. When it celebrated its 10th year on Broadway last October, the Empire State Building was lit up in pink, white and blue in honor of “Mamma Mia!”

Given the excitement over this coming musical in Manila, it is said that Lunchbox, the British outfit that brings the musicals to Manila, in partnership with the local Concertus, might bring next year Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera”—believed to be the most expensive stage production today.

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