You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The real ’70s show

'Mamma Mia!' What a theater launch!

HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert.

At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for its theatricality, and it touches people. It’s honest.”

Though the show’s essence is its Abba songs, producer Judy Craymer stressed the importance of the story. “There’s a lot of people trying to do a musical around a catalog of pop songs. It’s not as easy as you think.”

Bjorn Ulvaeus, one of Abba’s “Bs,” said there’s been interest from U (whose music division underwrote the party) to make a film based on the show, “but I’m not sure I want to do that. I might be old-fashioned, but I think a musical might have a longer life without becoming a movie.”

One veteran of a mega-successful Hollywoodized musical, Olivia Newton-John, said she’d been asked to star in a production of the show but declined. “I’m too lazy,” said the “Grease” star. “You have to do eight performances a week. They’re better at it than me.”

Among those celebrating the opening were stars Louise Pitre, Gary Lynch and Tina Maddigan plus guests Richard Carpenter, Dick Clark, Sandy Gallin, Bill Haber, Dan Jinks, Lynda Keeler, Alan Ladd Jr., Eric McCormack and JoAnne Worley.

More Scene

  • TIFFANY HADDISH stars in "Night School,"

    Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart in 'Night School': 'No One Improvises Like They Do'

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

  • Jeremy Piven69th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals,

    Jeremy Piven Hosts Benefit for Domestic Violence Survivors, Caitlyn Jenner Honored

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

  • Jon M. Chu, Director, Constance Wu,

    Jon M. Chu on Directing 'Crazy Rich Asians' Sequel: 'We Still Have to Close My Deal on It'

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

  • Jeff Bridges'Bad Times at the El

    Jeff Bridges Approves of a 'Big Lebowski' Remake: 'If I Was in It'

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

  • 'Milk Bar' Founder Christina Tosi Previews

    Milk Bar Founder Christina Tosi on Opening in L.A. and Whether She'll Do a Cooking Show

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

  • Taraji P. HensonTaraji's Boutique of Hope

    Taraji P. Henson Opens Up About Seeking Mental Health Treatment

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

  • Bryan Cranston Reflects on Early Rejection,

    Bryan Cranston Reflects on Early Rejection and the 'Breaking Bad' Scene That Still Rocks Him

    HOLLYWOOD — With the most glittery L.A. theater launch since “The Lion King’s” five months ago (red carpet, film crews, after-party at a tent-expanded Century Club), “Mamma Mia!” opened Monday at the Shubert. At the after-party, the godfather of L.A. theater, Gordon Davidson, praised the production for “not sending it up. They play it for […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content