ABBA stars Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus have revealed how their musical Mamma Mia! could have been a flop because it was originally set in a zoo with animals singing their songs.
The songwriters claim that in the early Nineties they were approached about staging a show using their songs, such as Dancing Queen, SOS and Waterloo, but were to be performed by lions, tigers, giraffes and elephants, so declined.
Set on a Greek isle their musical, about a daughter trying to find her father on her wedding day, has grossed more than £1billion since it opened 10 years ago, while last year’s Mamma Mia! movie is the highest-grossing film musical of all time.
In an interview with the Elaine Paige On Sunday show on Radio Two, which will be broadcast next week, Björn, 63, says: “The musical was originally meant to be a one-hour TV special based on Abba songs.
“There were a few scriptwriters involved and one script included animals and stuff. Nothing came of it.”
Benny, 62, added: “We just said ‘No’.”