Preceded by much hype, lots of advertising and copious press coverage, the hit musical “Mamma Mia” about the Swedish pop band ABBA will debut in Israel in three months in what is likely to be the biggest entertainment production of the year and perhaps the largest international music event Israel has ever seen.
The international production of the smash hit musical will be staged at a Tel Aviv arena for 15 performances starting June 12.
“We are bringing the real deal to Israel,” Marek Lieberberg, the international producer, told The Jerusalem Post during a recent trip to Dublin to see the same show and meet the cast that will arrive here on June 11. “Israel is a great market and its about time they got the great shows. It’s a massive logistical task, the whole set will be in Helsinki right before it comes to Israel but we plan to transplant all the equipment from there to Israel exactly the same as it is.”
Lieberberg’s company will not undertake this task alone. A mobile phone company, Orange, is sponsoring part of the production and local producers Shmuel Zemach and Uri Ofer will also facilitate the huge operation, which includes transforming the Nokia basketball arena in Tel Aviv, the only location here large enough to house the show, into a theater and providing local audiences with simultaneous translations to Hebrew.
The musical, by British producer Judy Craymer, is set to the famous tunes of Swedish pop group ABBA. Seven years after its premiere at London’s Prince Edward Theater, the show would still be drawing in upwards of $8 million per year in performances from London to New York, Budapest to Doha, Dubai to Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Beijing and Moscow.
The show is in English, but most Israelis are familiar with the tunes of the Eighties band anyway. While the light plot borders on a spoof, what keeps the show going is the music, the catchy tunes of ABBA who won over millions of fans worldwide. All the favorites are packed into the show - “Chiquitita,” “Dancing Queen,” “Does
Your Mother Know,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” “S.O.S,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Waterloo” and, of course, “Mamma Mia.”