Mamma Mia! was conceived by producer Judy Craymer. Craymer, a fan of ABBA, believed the pop group’s music had certain theatrical qualities and the work would transfer well to the stage. She first met Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA when the two were writing the musical Chess in 1983. In 1997, more than a decade after her initial idea, Craymer hired playwright Catherine Johnson to write the book for the musical. The following year, Phyllida Lloyd was brought on to direct.
Mamma Mia! premiered in London’s West End on April 6, 1999. It was an instant commercial success. The musical
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