Director's Note for Mamma Mia!
Picture of Lisa Milanes, Director

We are thrilled you are here supporting WVLO Musical Theatre Company, taking time from your busy day to have fun, relax and experience this amazing musical, Mamma Mia!

Back in 1966 Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson began recording together and back-up vocals were sung by their fiancées, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad—ABBA was born.

Mamma Mia! is a musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia”. Ulvaeus and Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the stage show from the beginning. Singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved financially in the production. The musical opened in the West End of London at the Prince Edward Theatre on April 6, 1999.

I remember the first time I heard ABBA, I was visiting my cousin Jon in Random Lake, Wisconsin, when I was 18— it was 1976. We were shooting pool and ABBA was playing from the bar’s 8-track. It played over and over and over, but no one minded, we ALL sang along. When I was asked to direct WVLO’s musical Mamma Mia!, I was thrilled that they chose me. What an honor. Listening to the songs again but with “older ears” and a more mature sense of self, how amazing these songs are, the notes, the lyrics, they reach out to all of us and make us smile.

There have been many great productions in our area this year, but we really wanted to bring the heart and soul of ABBA to our stage. I was so overjoyed to be at every rehearsal, to help pull props, discuss music, vocals and sets, work on hair colors, to coordinate with such amazing artists and staff who have worked tirelessly to bring you our production of Mamma Mia! What a gift!

We have taken a little different spin on a few things in our production so hopefully you will enjoy them as much as we have, think Mamma Mia! but with a twist.

After bows, get up from your seat, sing out with all of us—let the music of ABBA be heard!

—Lisa Milanes