Abba send an SOS
Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, once the male, more bearded half of Abba, were determined to follow up their hugely successful Mamma Mia! with another West End musical.
They duly approached Herbie Kretzmer, the great lyricist of Les Miserables. Benny and Bjorn wanted to see if he could write the lyrics for the English version of Kristina, a musical they had written in Swedish about emigrants.
The plight of Kristina and her family, poor farmers who swap famine in Sweden for poverty in America, had packed them in – in Stockholm. But all that Scandinavian gloom did not play well with the money men. After seeing a workshop, the potential financiers declared that sad doesn’t sell. Herbie begs to differ.
Les Miserables is a tearjerker that is the West End’s longest-running musical, and his next venture, Marguerite, is about a courtesan who dies of TB in her lover’s arms. Let the money men see sense and bring on Kristina.