“Mamma Mia!” — which gave New York City a much-needed jolt of fun a month after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center — is going out with a block party in front of the Broadhurst Theatre on Sept. 12. The ABBA musical will have played 5,765 performances and grossed over $600 million on Broadway alone. I expect confetti and maybe fireworks — they can afford it!
On hand will be Judy Craymer, who produced the show and is now one of the richest women in England, as well as director Phyllida Lloyd and book-writer Catherine Johnson. (Interesting tidbit: “Fun Home” is the first Broadway show since “Mamma Mia!” to have an all-female creative team: Jeanine Tesori, Lisa Kron and Alison Bechdel.)
There was some talk that Meryl Streep, who starred in the “Mamma Mia!” film, would swing by for the closing-night fun, but I’m told she’ll be out of town on a movie set. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus — the ABBA boys — won’t be around either. They’re on their yachts, which I pray are named Waterloo and Fernando.
After the show closes, Craymer will turn her attention to a “Mamma Mia!” movie sequel. The 2008 original remains the highest-grossing movie musical of all time — over $600 million worldwide and counting.
Streep is likely to reprise her role, and I hear Pierce Brosnan may pop up to serenade us with that lovely singing voice of his. The movie is in the early stages, but Casey Nicholaw, who staged “The Book of Mormon” and “Something Rotten!,” may direct.
Cast members from all 14 years of the Broadway run are going to appear in the final performance at the Broadhurst. I hope Joe Machota, the original Sky, is among them. Though he’s since become a big-shot agent at CAA, I’ll always think of him in a wet suit, flippers and a snorkel.
As for Craymer, one of my all-time favorite producers, here’s a story making the rounds to show how far she’s come: Before “Mamma Mia!” opened in London in 1999, she invited Baz Bamigboye, the powerful Daily Mail gossip columnist to lunch. Midway through the meal, she admitted she didn’t have the money to pay the bill. Bamigboye graciously took care of it.
I had a jolly lunch with her last December at the Colbert in London.
Guess who picked up the check this time.