A tasty Mediterranean buffet is placed on your table. Glasses are being raised across the room. Everything happens on a magical evening in several acts filled with singing and dancing, daredevil stunts, Greek Gods, flirty waiters, and perhaps a Zorba and an Ouzo or two. The rest is up to you. Because no evening is like any other. And no one knows how it ends. It all depends on where ABBA's songs take us! But one thing's for sure: you can count on a Summer night city. The temperature at Nikos Taverna is always set on Greek high summer, regardless of season. Ready to make history? Opa!!
Björn Ulvaeus invites everyone to "Mamma Mia! the Party" in Stockholm. Mamma Mia! musical is being turned into party held in the Tyrol restaurant at Gröna Lund, a few steps from ABBA The Museum. Building on ABBA tunes, one of Swedish greatest musical export successes ever, Björn Ulvaeus captured the warm, happy atmosphere of the musical and movie Mamma Mia! that have conquered millions of people around the world and turned it into a party. Planning for the production has been ongoing for 2 years with first sketchy details revealed in April 2015.
ESCKAZ had the opportunity to talk to Björn Ulvaeus who is the executive producer and one of the initiators of Mamma Mia! the Party, which premiered in Tyrol on 20 January 2016. At the age of 70 Björn who calls himself "pop culture entrepreneur, investor and lyricist", is full of energy, has no plans to retire but not to get back to the active composing or stage activity either. His vision of the new show is that guests, restaurant staff, musicians and artists together create the party in the Greek tavern environment from the island of Skopelos, where the Mamma Mia! the movie filmed, with olive trees, fountain and scents of the Mediterranean. With the help of the ABBA songs they write that particular evening's history there and then. With Mamma Mia! the Party are linked the two big attractions: ABBA the Museum and Gröna Lund amusement park, creating a new public magnet at Djurgården. For this purpose, legendary Tyrol restaurant has been transformed in 2015 by set designer Bengt Fröderberg into a Greek tavern.
"I sat in the audience at theaters around the world and experienced the special warm, happy atmosphere that occurs when the first notes of the musical sounds out over the auditorium. And when people stand up and dance and sing at the end of it. That is the feeling I want to recreate at the Mamma Mia! the Party", says Björn Ulvaeus
Watch Björn Ulvaeus speaking about Mamma Mia! the Party and Eurovision:
Mamma Mia! the musical has so far been seen by 55 million people around the world. The musical premiered at the Prince Edward Theatre in London on 6 April 1999. A total of 49 stagings in 16 languages were produced and it is still being played in 8 productions in three different languages. The film based on the musical premiered in 2008 with actors like Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried and Stellan Skarsgård. Last year Eurovision accredited press and delegates were invited to attend for free one of the best world stagings in the show Mamma Mia! in Raimund Theater with Ana Milva Gomes and Madeleine Lauw.
Today, ESCKAZ team has been invited to attend the English version of Mamma Mia! the Party. The story is not same as in Mamma Mia! the Musical, it takes place after Mamma Mia! the Movie was filmed on Skopelos Island and evolves around Greek tavern owner Nikos and his new Swedish wife Kicki (who was working on The Movie production and decided to stay in Greece) who came up with the idea to organize every evening a Mamma Mia Party in their tavern while serving great food for the tourists, executive chef of the tavern Maggan, Nikos' daughter Konstantina, Kicki's son Adam and the Romeo & Juliet story between the latter two, complete with the balcony scene. There is also plenty of room for improvisation and audience participation, if the guests are up for it (and if you celebrate your birthday musicians will also play and sing a special version of Happy Birthday for you).
Upon entering ‘Nikos Tavern’, the guests are greeted by Greek Gods bearing trays of Ouzo shots, before being shown to their tables and handled a local gossip newspaper "Skopelos News" with details about the cast, crew and menu. Inside Tyrol, the temperature is always set to a Greek summer evening, so dress accordingly (cloakroom in the restaurant is free of charge). An astonishingly detailed set includes the frontage of a Greek souvenir shop and a backdrop of screens showing a real Grecian sunset, which changes throughout the evening while surround effects such as the sea, crickets etc bring alive the Grecian backdrop of the popular Abba movie, Mamma Mia! Vines trail the crumbling walls, fountains dance and the air is heavy with the scent of olive trees and jasmine. As the evening progresses, the light gradually fades out as the sun goes down and candles begin to flicker. While the guests enjoy their food, the show takes place around them. There is no stage, instead the cast delivers their dialogue, sings and dances between the tables on the restaurant floor creating complete 360° experience.
The music is still made of ABBA songs, but again the tracklist is different to the Musical, while some lyrics have been reworked by Björn Ulvaeus himself.
Kicky & Nikos: Thank You For The Music; Maggan: Bang-A-Boomerang; Adam: Take a Chance on Me; Konstantina & Adam: I've Been Waiting for You; Kicky: When I Kissed the Teacher; Kicky: Head Over Heels; Kicky & Konstantina: If it Wasn't for the Night; Maggan: Hole in Your Soul; Adam: On and On and On; Konstantina: So Long; Adam & Konstantina: Honey Honey; Maggan: Andante, Andante
All: Waterloo; Kicky: S.O.S.; Maggan: Mamma Mia; Konstantina: I Let the Music Speak; Adam: I'm a Marionette; Konstantina: The Winner Takes It All; Adam & Konstantina & Kicky & All: Kisses Of Fire
Konstantina: I Have A Dream, Anders and band: Does Your Mother Know,
Medley: Kicky & Lotta & Bella & Adam: Summernight City; Konstantina: Voulez vous; Kicky & Maggan: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!; Lotta: Super Trouper; Maggan: Mamma Mia; Kicky: Lay All Your Love On Me; Konstantina: Tiger; Roberto & Adam: So Long;
Encore: Dancing Queen
Get some taste of the music and practice your lyrics knowledge with ABBA originals:
The striking-looking performances are made on the lesser-known songs, "I'll let the music speak" and "I'm a marionette," which offer spectacular circus acrobat numbers with Talang show finalist Elin König Andersson, leading to the grand finale of the story itself with "Kisses of Fire". At this point, the only regret is that the story so quickly has come to the end - but the organizers predicted such reaction and is prepared a third act for all the visitors, which although isn't developing the storyline, but none-the-less is full of ABBA songs.
The evening ends with Greek Zorba dancing (for which "I Had A Dream" seems the perfect fit), the tables then are moved to transform the venue into the nightclub with the dance floor and then, there is another performance that includes a medley of songs of Abba. Those guests who had not enough of 4 hours of party during the show itself can continue discoing with the DJs even after the artists have left on the recorded soundtrack of the show, other music of ABBA and dance hits.
The stars of "Mamma Mia! the Party" are actors Michalis Koutsogiannakis as Nikos, Anki Albertsson as Kicky, Sussie Eriksson as Maggan, Mercedesz Csampai as Konstantina, Patrik Hont as Adam, Linda Olsson / Sofie Gunnarsson as Lotta, gymnast Elin König Andersson as Bella, four Greek ladies altering role of Grandmother: Sigrid Anastasoglou, Hrissoula Damianidou, Nikoletta Kereklidou and Maria Saivanidou and musicians Robin Svensson (Rasmus, piano & guitar), Mija Folkesson (Gittan, guitar & bouzouki), Daniel Bingert (Lasse, bass & mandoline), Pablo Cepeda (Roberto, drums & percussion) and Michael Blomqvist (Anders, guitar & bouzouki).
Sussie Eriksson starred as Karin in Swedish production in Mamma Mia!, Michael Blomqvist, being many times leader of huskören of Melodifestivalen, was choir member for Mamma Mia! The Movie and also performed in Swedish stage production as well as Anki Albertsson, who was Donna in Gothenburg staging and backing singer at soundtrack recording. Pablo Cepeda twice competed in Melodifestivalen. Michalis Koutsogiannakis is known for his participation in film adaptation of Millennium saga.
Mamma Mia! the Party produced by Eventum in cooperation with Björn Ulvaeus, scripted by Calle Norlén, Björn Ulvaeus and Roine Söderlundh, with latter being also director of the show.
The whole lineup of actors and musicians is absolutely exceptional, competent and professional and are perfectly casted into the roles. Highlight of the show, however, is no doubt performance of stunning Swedish/Hungarian/Russian singer Mercedesz Csampai (watch out for her emotional rendition of The Winner Takes It All and her literally hanging-in-the-air performance of Voulez-vous in the final medley) who previously starred in various international music productions including "Tanz der Vampire" in Berlin and "The Phantom of the Opera" in Moscow.
Tickets for the shows can be booked at ticnet.se. At the current moment on sale are shows till April 2017. You should absolutely buy tickets in advance, because the shows are usually sold out. Tickets cost 1340.00 SEK (around 145 Euro) per person may seem quite high at the first sight, but remember it includes dinner, and thus is in average the same as the cost of the quality concert attendance followed by a good dinner. You can also purchase combined package including admission to ABBA The Museum for 1535 SEK. Time of arrival varies on day of the week and is found on your ticket, doors remain open for appr. 45 minutes from listed time.
If you plan to visit Stockholm this summer, the Party will be in English between July 27 to August 21, the other days Swedish version of the show is played (with songs still in English).
The party will last for at least four hours (of them the show itself around hour and a half). Capacity of the restaurant is 450 visitors. Minimal age: 13 years, aged 13-18 are welcome accompanied by adults. Tables are reserved in the order they are booked, so there is no option to choose them. If you come in a large group you may occupy a full table for 8 or 10 people, otherwise you may be required to share a table with other ABBA fans. The plan of the hall is made to ensure best possible experience for all tables, but largest portion of action takes place around the fountain, left balcony is also used a bit more often than right one. Groups bigger than 15 persons can be booked via e-mail: email@example.com, also can you request there (not less than a week before the show) to be seated together with your friends who booked tickets separately.
A three-course mediterranean buffet is included in the ticket price, and is served at your table. The buffet is produced by Samuel Cabrera and his culinary colleagues, in consultation with Jonas Dahlbom, the new creative culinary manager at Gröna Lund. Dishes are served prior to the beginning and in the breaks between the acts.
Mezes: Tzatziki, Semi-dried tomatoes, olives and anchovies, Hummus, Greek farmhouse bread
Starters: Greek salad, Garlic-fried octopus with lemon and rosemary, Fish stew made with hake, tomatoes, and lemon served with sage butter
Main dishes: Lamb racks with pistachio crust, beef and chevre cream, Loin of pork skewers with roast potatoes, Lamb sausage
Dessert: Coffee, ouzo-flavoured semolina cream, pistachio crust, yoghurt pannacotta with honey and almond biscuits.
Options are available for those with gluten or lactose intolerance, or with seafood allergies. Vegetarian or vegan menu can also be prepared if notified by mail in advance. Drinks, except from welcome one, are extra and paid at Tyrol, and, of course, there are alcohol-free alternatives.
Find complete menu here.
Producers of the show do not rule out international expansion of the project in the same way it has happened with Mamma Mia! the Musical (London production is at the talks already), but at this moment it is exclusively available in capital of Sweden Stockholm. The easiest way to Tyrol restaurant is by Djurgårds ferry from Slussen (last ferry back is at 23:50 everyday and at 00:30 on Saturday), or bus 67 to Liljevalchs/Gröna Lund (last bus back at 00:20), or tram 7 from Kungsträdgården to Djurgården (last one at 01:45). More on transport options: here, route planner here. Tyrol has its own entrance at Allmänna Gränd and is located on the other side of the street from the ABBA The Museum and Pop House.
By the way, Swedish entrant Frans was guest of Mamma Mia The Party last week:
Amir, Samra, Juri, Zoe and Italian delegation have also visited the event during these weeks.
The world premiere of Mamma Mia! the Party earlier this year was a historic occasion as all four ABBA members, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, attended and posed together for the first time since Mamma Mia! the movie presentation and just second time after the supergroup split. "I don't think that (on-stage) reunion will happen, but who knows (what future brings)", surprisingly no so firmly as usual says Björn in ESCKAZ interview.
For us the show definitely has been the ultimate highlight of the two weeks in Stockholm with amazing music performances and finally a chance to have a proper dinner. Finally, we would like to thank Stephanie Bonn from Zap PR for her assistance in coverage of the event.
I normally do this after watching the press run-through on Friday afternoon but as I'm not in Stockholm here's my thoughts and predictions for Eurovision 2016.
1. BELGIUM: Well styled and performed, great show opener but the draw also kills off any chance of doing well. PREDICTION: 11th-15th
2. CZECHIA: An achievement just getting here, but will be long forgotten by voting time. PREDICTION: 21st-26th
3. NETHERLANDS: Stands out, charismatic performance and is quite memorable. Juries will like it. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
4. AZERBAIJAN: Very clever use of backing vocalist and ridiculous choreography doesn’t disguise a weak song. PREDICTION: 16th to 20th
5. HUNGARY: Off-key in the semi and now struggling to be remembered. PREDICTION: 21st-26th
6. ITALY: Mediocre and monotonous song. The lyrics are nice, but in Italian. May get jury votes. PREDICTION: 16th-20th
7. ISRAEL: Bland flat song made to look better by great staging and sound better with a terrific vocal, but it’s still as dull as ditch water. PREDICTION: 11th-15th
8. BULGARIA: Great energy but messy performance and it’s lacking anything that says “vote for me”. PREDICTION: 16th-20th
9. SWEDEN: After last year’s staging, it’s a major gear-change to “less is more”. Very instant song with a contemporary vide which is unusual this year. PREDICTION: Top 5.
10. GERMANY: The studio version is terrific but it’s transferred very badly to the stage and coming after the host country, it has “last place” written all over it. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
11. FRANCE: Helped by coming after Germany, but the staging is wrong and it just confirms my suspicion that it never was a contender for victory (apart from biggest fanwank). PREDICTION: 11th-15th
12. POLAND: The most old-fashioned song in the show, but it’s well-performed and dramatic and will get jury and diaspora votes. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
13. AUSTRALIA: I don’t like the rather awkward and clumsy staging, but it’s a terrific vocal and this is the best of the over-blown female mid-tempo songs. PREDICTION: Top 5.
14. CYPRUS: It was lucky to qualify after the dreadful messy staging and now Georgia is likely to walk all over it. It should get some Greek diaspora votes though. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
15. SERBIA: I was disappointed by the old-style Eurovision staging on this. It would have been better creating a jazz club style vibe, but great vocal and strong melody. PREDICTION: Top 5.
16. LITHUANIA: A perfect example of how to sell a very ordinary song with a slick, professional performance. But it’s now caught between two more memorable entries. PREDICTION: 16th-20th.
17. CROATIA: I love the staging and say what you like about the costume, it makes it memorable. Not helped by coming before Russia. PREDICTION: 11th-15th.
18. RUSSIA: If Eurovision was still a song contest, it would struggle to be Top 5, but in a show where music is secondary and against a poor field it’s hard to see another winner. PREDICTION: Top 5.
19. SPAIN: Coming after Russia is not a disaster (ask Czechia). Being a poor version of the far superior Belgian entry is a far bigger issue. PREDICTION: 21st-26th.
20. LATVIA: Patently unsuited to being a show opener, it still survived but it’s still a male, pale, and stale version of last year’s entry. Mind you that was Top 10 in a much better field and the late draw helps. PREDICTION: 6th- 10th.
21. UKRAINE: I was disappointed by this in the semi, but if Albania can be Top 5 with a similar song in a better year, so can Ukraine. You won’t forget it. PREDICTION: Top 5.
22. MALTA: The late draw and being the only contemporary pop song in a run of five helps this poor song and mediocre performance. But again nothing says “vote for me”. Prediction: 21st to 26th
23. GEORGIA: I can’t stand it as a song, but it’s presented terrifically (in contrast to Cyprus) and it adds variety to the show. PREDICTION: 11th-15th.
24. AUSTRIA: The biggest winner of all in draw, and this twee nonsense will actually come as a relief to many after the Georgian onslaught. PREDICTION: 16th to 20th.
25. UNITED KINGDOM: Apart from Israel, no song has improved as much since March as the U.K. The lads now look confident and it’s a terrific draw. PREDICTION: 6th-10th
26. ARMENIA: Italy won the televote from last position last year but Il Volo were unique and charismatic. This is still a nothing song, but absolutely superbly staged. PREDICTION: 6th- 10th
Welcome to our rolling blog of the jury rehearsal.
The contest kicks off with a lively haute couture catwalk featuring all finalists. The songs used are all dance anthems by some of Sweden's most popular dance djs (Avicii, Swedish House Maffia, Axwell, Ingrosso).
Mans and Petra have now appeared on stage, introduce themselves. They are also explaning Europe is going through dark times and hope tonight will unite Europe once more through music. The new voting system is being announced as well.
The running order for tonight:
Belgium: The last will be the first. Very slick performance from Laura, though she's sounding rather nervous tonight. The crowd however, are loving it. Let's hope Laura is back in form tomorrow.
The nerves seem to be taken over a little. Gabriela is not sounding as strong as she did in the semi earlier this week. Bit dissapointing, especially when the key change kicks in.
Solid performance from Douwe Bob. The pause has remained,,, and the muttered I LOVE YOU words are going to swoon many viewers tomorrow evening. Could surprise!
Oh dear... This had such potential before the rehearsals started, and while there was improvement Tuesday evening, Samra's vocals are all over the place tonight... she's sounding much worse than she did on Tuesday. Not even the backings can save this.
Again the vocals are pretty ropey tonight. Has everyone been out partying last night? Adequately enough, and one of the better acts we've seen tonight.
Francesca sings adequately and better than some of her predecessors. The act is nice enough to convey the message. Not entirely sure how does will do. Met with cheers from the press centre and audience in Globen.
Italy could be a trouble though. Hovi from Israel completely outshines Francesca, with his vocals and staging. I would even say, the best vocals of the night by far too.
Poli needs to make sure she keeps her voice under control in the verses otherwise superb energetic entry which is going to do extremely well.
The home entry is met with a huuuuuge response of course. Not entirely sure about his vocals though, but Frans works the camera oh so well. Difficult to predict what this will do. For the first time it feels like If I Were Sorry drags on much longer than the 3 minutes it is.
Jamie-Lee still has problems finding the cameras by the looks of it... Vocals are also sounding pretty nervous tonight.
Amir's letting us down a bit. vocally it sounded okay but once the key change starts, the vocals are completely losing control. The empty staging is however the main point of concern.
Michal Szpak on the other hand is giving flawless vocals tonight...well until the last chorus, then it gets a little shouty. Don't over do it, Michal...
Dami Im... what a voice... Ok yes, there is some freestyling going on, but Dami's voice is strong and confident. Has pretty much blown everything in the competition away.
Very shouty vocals for Minus One, out of breath as well... but a great reaction from the audience. Can't see this doing extremely well.
Easily the best vocals of the night so far. Literally wiped the floor with everyone so far... will be showered with points by the juries, and again tomorrow night.
Donny Montell is very much in his element here. Vocals are being a little bit compensated but that's pretty normal considering there's a lot of dancing going on. Great staging for this too.
Shaky vocals which aren't as clear as we know from Nina. She hits the high notes in the key change though but then the freestyling goes a little bit wrong. Don't do the freestyling Nina...
Great vocals and not a foot set wrong... Sergey may just have snatched the game back from Australia... Can anyone still take it from him?
The build up for Spain to that first chorus is incredibly but that fall just ruins it... Barei also sounds out of breath and the whole production sounds really rushed... Slow down Barei.
You can not fault Justs for his vocals. He just sounds incredible. Whether that is enough to get him through, is another question though.
Visually very strong and flawless vocals from Jamala. Spine tingling and full of drama. A contender for top ten, but not a winner.
Adequate singing from Ira, but her song doesn't really have that extra push to go all the way. Radio friendly, which viewers at home will most definitely compare to the Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande sound.
Absolutely bonkers performance from Georgia... Deliciously alternative...
Zoe from Austria has become an absolute fan favourite with her song Loin D'Ici... Even for me. I like everything about it. Confident sweet singer, who's come to Stockholm with a fairytale... Eurovision and Disney have always had a soft spot for each other.. I don't see any reason why this would be different.
Still some work on finding the cameras for Joe & Jake. Vocals get better as the song progresses. Lots of pyros in the performance too at the end. Sounds great in the hall, but doesn't really leave much impact on screen.
Iveta's staging and vocal capabilities are simply divine. Huge reaction in the hall and press centre. Keep an eye out of for this one.
This is where we end the our live blog roll for tonight's rehearsal.
Have a great night.
The whole of the press centre is watching is rapt attention....
GUYS....it's fake :-D
It really does not mean anything
It look like Armenia might win :-P