Two of London’s longest running musicals reach landmarks in their history this month. Mamma Mia!, the fun-loving musical created around the songs of Swedish supergroup Abba, celebrates its 3,500th West End performance on 23 August, just five days after becoming the longest running show at the Prince of Wales on 18 August. The world’s longest running current musical, Les Misérables, marks its 9,000th London performance on 10 August.
Mamma Mia!, the musical favoured by Dancing Queens and Super Troopers, opened in London over eight years ago. Telling the tale of Sophie who, as she is about to get married, tries to discover the identity of her father, Catherine Johnson’s book is interweaved with a collection of Abba’s most famous hits.
Since it premiered in the West End, Mamma Mia! has grown into a global phenomenon, and has been seen by more than 30 million people in 160 cities across the world. In the UK alone, 4.5 million people have enjoyed an evening of pop-tastic entertainment and the show has made £155 million.
Mamma Mia! currently stars Linzi Hateley, Joanna Monro and Jane Gurnett alongside Hannah Robertson as Sophie Sheridan, and is booking until 28 June
Les Misérables, adapted from Victor Hugo’s epic novel by the team of Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer, with direction by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, keeps setting the benchmarks by which all West End long-runners are measured.
Occupying its third London home – Les Mis has played at the Barbican, Palace and now Queen’s – the tale of love, loss, crime and forgiveness in revolutionary Paris turned 21 on 8 October 2006, becoming the longest running musical in the world by breaking the record set by Cats. Worldwide, Les Mis has been seen by more than 55 million people in 38 countries.
The West End production is currently led by John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean, and Hans Peter Janssens as Javert, and is currently booking until 27 September 2008.