Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Benny Andersson, Julian Poole, Jenny Galloway|
Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: A Decca Broadway Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Put together by Abba's own Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! manages to cram over 20 of the Swedish supergroup's songs into a threadbare plot. It goes a little like this: Young Sophie is getting married and she... more »
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Put together by Abba's own Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! manages to cram over 20 of the Swedish supergroup's songs into a threadbare plot. It goes a little like this: Young Sophie is getting married and she's trying to identify which of three men is her father. That's about it. Wisely, the musical doesn't mess around with the songs, save for the insertion of some dialogue or for having some of them performed by a man (it works amazingly well). Abba fans will jump on this import of the London production, but traditional fans of musical theater should consider it as well. After all, Andersson and Ulvaeus's songs have always felt as if they were more than isolated pop gems and actually belonged to a longer narrative. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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5 stars for the music, 4 for the performances
S. Fennell | Somewhere out there.....beneath the pale moon ligh | 04/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Last October, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold-out performance of "Mamma Mia" on Broadway, starring Louise Pitre. It was one of the most fun shows I've yet attended, a sing-along from start to finish, and the audience is literally dancing in the aisles by the show's finale. Unfortunately, the energy doesn't translate well to the Original Cast CD. I don't really think it's the fault of the cast; it's got to be difficult to re-create in the studio what you're used to performing in front of a (literally) screaming audience for eight shows a week, but for whatever reason, the CD is missing something. Part of the fault could be in the mixing; there's an almost "boxed in" feel to the instruments on the album, (seems to be hardly any reverb at all), and the synthesized orchestrations seem thin, something that did not come across as such in the theater. Another disappointment is that even though the CD does have all the featured songs from the show, it's still not really complete. The Overture has been drastically edited, which is really inexcusable in a cast album, but the most glaring omission is the 3 song "mini-concert" encore. At the end of the show, the entire cast takes the stage for an unbelievably high-energy run-through of "Dancing Queen", "Mamma Mia", and yes, "Waterloo", with exhaustive choreography going on the whole time. Why this was left off the CD is beyond me. Decca Records should also watch what they're doing with "truth in advertising". The cover of the CD proclaims that this is a "Decca Broadway Original Cast Album". Many casual buyers are going to interpret that to mean it's the Broadway Cast album. Guess again. This recording is the London Cast; there is no Broadway album as of yet. I knew this before I bought it, but many people will not. FYI for the unitiated; Decca Broadway is the name of the record label only, and doesn't always guarantee that you're getting the Broadway cast on the recording. This seems very misleading to me. Decca should have it printed CLEARLY on the cover that this is the London Cast. Those points aside, the show and it's songs are a LOT of fun, (It's ABBA, what else could it be?). I'm still holding out for a Broadway cast album, though."
This musical is HOT!
S. Fennell | 01/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite not being all that big of an ABBA fan, seeing this musical in London left me craving this CD. The cast is incredibly talented, and the energy level these actors bring to these songs add a really new dimension to these songs. On stage, Lisa Stokke, in the role as Sophie, makes a spectacular debut, and her talented voice comes clearly across on this CD. No recording can do the live show justice though. Right now this is one of the hardest shows to get tickets to in London, but if you plan to be there, I highly reccommend getting one. If not, then the CD will have to do."
S. Fennell | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had been a big ABBA fan for a while now, and was skeptical at how well MAMMA MIA! would treat those uplifting, glorious pop tunes. But this recording has made me a fan of MAMMA MIA!.I was so taken by the new versions of those wonderful ABBA songs. I've been playing this CD over and over and over again on my CD players... I listen to it on my stereo, my discman, my car CD player... and the funny thing is, my family loves it as well. We've been fighting over it. In fact, one of my family members brought it to her office today, and I had to resort to playing ABBA Gold.What sets this recording apart from other cast recordings of musicals is that it really close to capturing the essence and the energy of the live performance. Although at the theatre, the music is played on a much louder soundsystem.I saw MAMMA MIA! at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre in May, and the cast there was brilliant. The voices are far superior to the ones heard here on the Original London Cast Recording. In fact, the producers of the show have noted that the entire North American Premiere Cast is far superior to both the Original London Cast and the Current London Cast.I saw the show in London this past July, and was unbelievably disappointed at the production there. The cast was inferior to the Toronto cast, and the audience was dead. This was not the same energetic, amazing show that I saw in Toronto. Audiences at the Royal Alexandra Theatre are blown away by the performance, while London audiences are walking away thinking it's an okay show.Good thing that the North American Premiere Cast is going on tour in the United States, allowing more people to discover MAMMA MIA! and see it as a wonderful, energetic show. Too bad for London audiences, who are seeing a mediocre production.So obviously, one of the things that bother me about this particular cast recording is that the voices are not that great, in comparison with the Toronto cast. Siobhan McCarthy, who plays Donna, does not have the powerhouse voice of Toronto's Louise Pitre. Her "Winner Takes It All" isn't sublime like Louise Pitre's, whose version of the song is considered the definitive take on the song, both by ABBA's Benny & Bjorn, and by ABBA fans. In comparison to Louise, her voice is thin and weak, although it sounds sweet.The male leads aren't that great either, including the three dads, as well as Sky. Lisa Stokke as Sophie was fine, and is probably the strongest singer in the entire recording.Another thing that bothers me with this cast recording is that it edits out some favourite parts heard live in the show. The Overture has been edited, and doesn't feature the lovely symphonic version of the title song. The song "Honey Honey" is not complete either, missing a couple of verses.I love this recording, however, and is a great introduction to the show, which is why I'm still giving it 5 stars. It made me fall in love with the show.But mind you, this cast is not as fantastic as the North American cast. Until a recording with Louise Pitre as Donna is released, then I'll have to settle for this one.Avoid seeing the show in London with the absolutely boring cast headed by Louise Plowright as Donna (not to be confused with Louise Pitre). You'll be gipped.The trip to Toronto to see MAMMA MIA! starring Louise Pitre would be more worthwhile."