Friday, February 22nd, 2008
With over 1,900 performances and two million guests, Mamma Mia at Mandalay Bay has set the benchmark for Broadway musicals in the desert! To celebrate its 5th magical milestone anniversary the producers told the cast it’s being extended right through to January next year (2009) instead of folding its tent in August. That will take it to a record breaking 2,300 performances! Congratulations to all involved.

Photo co: Kirvin Doak

Photo co: Mamma Mia

Photo co: TVT

It’s a bigger phenomenon when factored on a global basis. Over 30-million people have seen it worldwide and it has brought in over $2-billion in worldwide box-office sales. This summer Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast in the movie version with Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters. Not bad for 20 fun songs from a 70’s Swedish group, ABBA, that technically broke-up and retired after their run through the pop charts. However, it’s the disco ball and shimmering spandex married up with the infectious melodies of “Dancing Queen” and “Our Last Summer” that has crowds still dancing in the aisles! Even I had a Spandex moment!

Photo co: TVT

The Vegas cast, led by Carol Linnea Johnson, Robin Baxter and Vicki Von Tassel celebrated the anniversary with a party at Mandalay Bay’s House of Blue’s theater, where a giant cake was rolled on-stage for the celebration. 

Photo co: TVT

Sky & Sophie - 2003

Sam & Donna - 2008

It was also interesting to note that actor Victor Wallace was there on day one when he played the character of “Sky” who is set to marry mischievous “Sophie,” and now has grown up and returned to play her possible father, “Sam Carmichael.”

Photo co: Jacob Andrejczak

Actress Tina Walsh, who opened the show playing the leading role of “Donna Sheridan” and now starring in Phantom of the Opera at The Venetian, stopped by to offer her congratulations. I asked Tina and Carol if they could explain the real reasoning behind the show’s extraordinary success. After much discussion between themselves they said it wasn’t just the pop sing-along music but that, “the story touches hearts on so many different levels for so many different people who have experienced all of the musical’s emotions of the good and the bad of love with its happiness and its frustrations.”

Photo co: Francis George

So now you know. If you haven’t seen it yet—run, don’t walk, to do so!