Step aside Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra has just won the musical theatre lottery.
It was confirmed today that smash hit musical Mamma Mia! will be returning to Australia for a national tour in 2017-18 and that Canberra will host its opening season. The six city tour will commence in November 2017 at the Canberra Theatre Centre, making this “the biggest theatrical production to play at the [centre] to date”, according to ACT’s Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
The production will then move to the Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Brisbane before playing the other major tour cities on the live performance circuit in 2018, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Producer Louise Withers was in Canberra today to announce the tour, which is scheduled to play a three week season in Canberra.
“Now more than ever, the opportunity exists for Canberra to offer a viable venue, and eager market, to a wealth of productions now being produced across a country with limited venue supply”, she said.
“If Canberrans, public and corporate, support Mamma Mia! and provide capacity audiences, it will be a compelling invitation for other presenters and producers.”
This announcement certainly brings Canberra to the fore as a major player in the live performance touring circuit. Other major musicals have made their way to Canberra in recent years, including the recent production of Little Shop of Horrors and Opera Australia’s previous tour of My Fair Lady in 2008-9. Will we be seeing more major musicals come through Australia’s capital city? The 1244 seat Canberra Theatre is a perfect size for musical theatre productions and as Australia’s first government initiated performing arts centre (completed in 1965), it seems only fitting that Canberra enjoys its status as a viable destination for major theatre tours.
The most recent Australian tour of Mamma Mia! opened in 2009 with Suzie Mathers in her first leading role. AussieTheatre.com understands that this new tour will not be a carbon copy of the previous production. Set on a Greek island paradise and inspired by the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s heart-warming tale centres around a young bride-to-be. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.
Mamma Mia! will be produced in Australia by Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick, with support from Visit Canberra and Events ACT.
To waitlist for tickets or to register interest go to mammamiathemusical.com.au