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Mamma Mia


A musical in 2 Acts by Catherine Johnson. Music and Lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Prince Edward Theatre, London - 6th April, 1999. Transferred to Prince of Wales Theatre, London 9th June, 2004: transferred to Novello 6th September, 2012- still running as at 18 December, 2012


The story takes place on a Greek island. Sophie, a 20-year old American (or British, depending on the production) girl, is preparing to marry her boyfriend, Sky. But she wants her father to walk her down the aisle - the trouble is, she has no idea who he is, for it has just been her and her mother, Donna, all her life. Sophie discovers her mother's old diary and finds entries which describe intimate dates with three men- Sam, Bill and Harry - in as many nights. Sophie believes that one of these men is her father and, three months prior to the wedding, sends each an invitation to her wedding without letting her mother know- she forges her mother's writing.

The day before the wedding, Donna begins receiving guests at her taverna. The first to arrive are her old friends, Tanya, a rich woman who has been married and divorced three times, and Rosie, an unmarried woman who likes to have fun. The three of them used to be a singing group- Donna and The Dynamoes. The three women catch up and talk about how life has treated them.

Later that day, Sophie's three possible fathers arrive: Sam Carmichael (an American architect), Harry Bright (a British banker), and Bill Austin (an Australian writer). Sophie convinces them not to tell Donna that she invited them. Donna walks into the taverna just as Sophie walks out. She is VERY surprised and horrified when she sees her three previous boyfriends all in the same place at the same time. She runs to her room in floods of tears.

Tanya and Rosie are in their room, unpacking their luggage when Donna comes into the room in hysterics. She explains what's wrong, and they cheer her up. Tanya and Rosie try to convince Donna that she can still be the girl that she once was.

Sophie had hoped that she would know her father the moment she saw him, but she is more confused now than ever. She tries to tell her fiancé Sky how she feels without actually confessing what she has done. Sky cheers her up by telling her that he will be all the man she ever needs. They then have to part for their stag and hen nights.

At Sophie's hen night, Donna and The Dynamoes don their old costumes and perform a song. Sam, Bill and Harry accidentally walk in on the party, but the guests persuade them to stay. Sophie first pulls Sam out of the room to talk to him. After he asks why he is here, she is overcome with guilt, and goes to talk to Harry instead. But Harry asks if Sophie's father is at the party, and she tells him the whole truth. Lastly, she draws Bill aside to talk with him. She learns that Bill has an aunt Sophia who left all her money to Donna's family. Bill learns that Donna built the taverna with money she inherited from a friend she lived with when Sophie was a baby- that friend was Bill. They both realize that he is probably her father.

Sophie finds Bill outside on the boat dock. He says he needed to get some air. Sophie asks him to walk her down the aisle. Bill wants to discuss it first with Donna. This has been her secret after all. But no-one knows yet that even Donna does not know who the father is, because she slept with the three men in such swift succession. Sophie insists that they must not tell Donna anything, and finally, Bill agrees.

Afterwards, everybody crashes the hen party (including the boys from the stag party). During the dance, Sam pulls Sophie aside and tells her that he has figured out why she invited him. He knows that he is her father, and promises to walk her down the aisle the next day. Sophie is speechless. Then, Harry approaches Sophie apologizing for being so slow on the uptake, and he is also convinced that she's his daughter and promises to walk her down the aisle tomorrow. Sophie leaves the party, hopelessly confused; she doesn't want to turn any of them down.

The 2nd act opens with Sophie having a nightmare that night, involving her three possible fathers all fighting for the right to walk her down the aisle and wakes up despairing.

Donna finds Sophie in her room. She is upset. Donna assumes that Sophie wants to cancel the wedding and offers to handle all the details. Sophie is offended and vows that her children will not grow up not knowing who their father is. As Sophie storms out of the room, Sam enters and tries to tell Donna that Sophie may not be all she seems, but Donna will not listen - she hates Sam - at the end of their affair, she said she never wanted to see him again. But it seems that Sam was the man Donna cared about the most, and both of them wish they could go back to the start.

At the beach, Harry asks Tanya what the father of the bride ought to be doing for Sophie's wedding. Tanya explains that for her part, her father gave her his advice and then paid. Pepper, one of the men who works at Donna's taverna, makes advances to Tanya, but she rebuffs him.

Sky finds out what Sophie has done in inviting Sam, Harry and Bill to the wedding. He accuses her of wanting a big white wedding only so that she can find out who her father is. He is very hurt that she kept this plan a secret from him. He storms off just as Sam walks in. Sam tries to give Sophie some fatherly advice by describing his failed marriage, but Sophie is not consoled.

Harry finds Donna in Sophie's room and offers to pay for the wedding. They reminisce about their fling. Sophie arrives and instead of Ali, Lisa and all the other girls, Donna helps her get dressed. She cannot believe her daughter is going to be a bride. Donna admits that her own mother disowned her when she learned that she was pregnant. They reconcile and Sophie asks her mother if she will walk her down the aisle. Sam arrives as Sophie leaves the room. He tries to speak to Donna again, but she does not want to see him, and asks him to leave. He refuses, and a bitter confrontation ensues. Donna tells Sam how he broke her heart, presumably when she found out he was engaged. It emerges that the two still love each other dearly, albeit against Donna's better judgement.

Rosie is making final preparations in the taverna when Bill arrives. He's upset because he has received a note that Donna will be walking Sophie down the aisle. Bill reaffirms his commitment to the single life, but Rosie has become attracted to him, and urges him to reconsider. They are about to have sex in the taverna, but the guests arrive, leaving Rosie quite stunned.

The wedding begins, with Donna walking Sophie down the aisle. Before the priest has a chance to begin the ceremonies, Donna acknowledges to everyone that Sophie's father is present. Sophie tells her mother that she knows about her father. Donna realizes that Sophie invited them to the wedding for that very reason. The issue of Sophie's parentage is left unsettled, as none of them have any idea whether they are actually her father; everyone involved agrees that it does not matter which is her biological parent, as Sophie loves all three and they are all happy to be "one-third of a father" and a part of her life at last. Finally, Harry, who has made frequent references to his "other half" throughout the show, is revealed to be in a committed homosexual relationship with a man named Laurence (Nigel or George in some productions and Peter in the Russian version). Suddenly, Sophie calls a halt to the proceedings. She is not ready to get married and Sky agrees with Sophie about not getting married. Sam seizes his chance and proposes to Donna in order to prevent the wedding preparations from going to waste. He explains that he loved her, even when he left to get married. It is revealed that he called off the wedding with his fiance and came back to the island, only to be told that Donna was going out with another man (Bill). He went back, married his fiance and had kids. However,sooner or later, he got divorced. Surprisingly, Donna accepts. In the end, Sam and Donna are married, and at the end of the night, Sophie and Sky depart on a round-the-world tour.

Musical Numbers

Act I

  1. Overture / Prologue
  2. "Honey, Honey" - Sophie Sheridan, Ali and Lisa
  3. "Money, Money, Money" - Donna Sheridan, Ali, Rosie, Pepper and Company
  4. "Thank You for the Music" - Sophie Sheridan, Sam Carmichael, Harry Bright and Bill Austin
  5. "Mamma Mia" - Donna Sheridan and Company
  6. "Chiquitita" - Tanya, Rosie and Donna Sheridan
  7. "Dancing Queen" - Tanya, Rosie and Donna Sheridan
  8. "Lay All Your Love on Me" - Sky, Sophie Sheridan and Company
  9. "Super Trouper" - Donna Sheridan, Tanya and Rosie
  10. "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" - Sophie Sheridan, Ali, Lisa and Company
  11. "The Name of the Game" - Sophie Sheridan and Bill Anderson
  12. "Voulez-Vous" - Company

Act II

  1. Entr’acte
  2. "Under Attack" - Sophie Sheridan and Company
  3. "One Of Us" - Donna Sheridan
  4. "S.O.S." - Donna Sheridan and Sam Carmichael
  5. "Does Your Mother Know" - Tanya, Pepper and Company
  6. "Knowing Me, Knowing You" - Sam Carmichael
  7. "Our Last Summer" - Harry Bright and Donna Sheridan
  8. "Slipping Through My Fingers" - Donna Sheridan and Sophie Sheridan
  9. "The Winner Takes It All" - Donna Sheridan
  10. "Take a Chance on Me" - Rosie and Bill Austin
  11. "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" - Sam Carmichael, Donna Sheridan and Company
  12. "I Have a Dream" - Sophie Sheridan
  13. Finale: "Dancing Queen", "Mamma Mia", "Waterloo" - Whole Cast