NEW YORK — After nearly two decades of being a “Cats” house, the Winter Garden is now home to Abba’s “Mamma Mia!,” which opened Oct. 18. Post “Saturday Night Fever,” post “The Music Man,” “MM” furthers the current Broadway trend of presenting an extended curtain call that is, in this case, a mini-concert of four songs. At the after-party, one Shubert Alley wag explained the phenom, “If you didn’t like the show, maybe you’ll go for the curtain call.” Although Kleig lights were conspicuously absent, the blowout at Bryant Park Grill restored some much needed glam to the Broadway season.
“After Sept. 11, some people thought we shouldn’t have a party,” said “MM” producer Judy Craymer, who had been pulling a Greta Garbo of late, not doing the press thing. Although she wouldn’t confirm the show’s $27 million advance, Craymer did say “every dollar” of that undisclosed sum was real, and “not part of some future sales” to theater parties.
Bragging rights are now in order: “I hear it’s hard to get tickets for spring” 2002, she disclosed. Abba’s Benny Andersson said he and Bjorn Ulvaeus had written four new songs for the show. “And the book is much revised,” he said of the 1988 musical. “It’s now less about the Cold War and more about people.”There’s even hope that Gotham will some day see Bjorn and Benny’s 1995 tuner “Kristina From Duvemala.” “Herbert Kretzmer has done a great translation from the Swedish. He also did ‘Les Miz,’ ” Andersson said. “Actually, I have the translation with me in my suitcase.”