Mamma Mia! 10th Anniversary celebration – I was there! (Updated with video)

10 Year Anniversary CD

For those not fortunate enough to be attending the 10 year anniversary of Mamma Mia! and for reviews, photos and reports from the evening, this thread has been set up. Let’s not forget, that April 6 1974, yes folks, that’s 35 years ago (!) was the first time many of us ever saw or heard a group called ABBA!

Many, many thanks to Mark Hooper who has put up an online gallery of images from last night, which includes the two photos below and many more.

Björn and Benny at the 10th Anniversary of Mamma Mia!

Björn and Benny onstage at the end of the show

Fans celebrate 10 years of Mamma Mia! in London

Fans celebrate 10 years of Mamma Mia! in London

Many thanks also to Vicky for submitting this great video from last night, featuring Benny and Björn’s sppech in full – wonderful stuff!:

35 thoughts on “Mamma Mia! 10th Anniversary celebration – I was there! (Updated with video)”

  1. There’s a sepcial 10th Anniversary issue of the (5th Anniversary) CD with bonus tracks this time with a special cardboard slip cover like the current adverts in magazines and across London tube system.

  2. I cant wait.. I have my ticket ready.. wonder if Frida will also be there, she was at the 5th anniversary. Be a great night!

  3. The UK Daily Telegraph today had a front page small bottom corner advert for Mamma Mia headed up with the 10 years of London Dancing Queen as its tag line but then on pages 6 and 7 there is a full page double advert with page six having pictures of Donna from productions around the world – (about 40 pictures I think) and a bit about how the musical opened in 1999 and has been seen by 40 million people and is the top UK movie, It then does the normal bit about the shows storyline. Page 7 is a full page advert with the bride picture. All in full colour and as the Telegraph is a full size broadsheet its an impressive way to mark the 10 years. I presume they have done in several other papers and ITV channel repeated the ABBA/mamma Mia TV show last night so most of the UK will know about Mamma Mia first decade.

  4. Got my ticket to see the 10 years of Mamma Mia! But not an Normal ticket but a one of the circle boxes with three friends so what a joy it is to see the 10 year version.

  5. Thanks to Sara Russell (reporting from the Prince of Wales theatre during the interval!) for the following info:

    Security generally non-existent for the arrival of Benny and Björn, who were immediately mobbed as they stepped onto a tiny piece of blue ‘red’ carpet.

    Fans are there from as far as Argentina and Japan especially for the 10th Anniversary show.

    Lena is accompanying Björn. Benny is with son Ludvig.

    Catherine Johnson was spotted chatting with Louise Plowright, the original Tanya who later went on to play Donna in London.

    Foyer area decked out with splendid flowers – all looking very lovely.

    Rumours are rife for something ‘special’ at the end of tonight’s show but generally so far things have been pretty low key.

    Many thanks to Sara!

  6. I’m not great with camera but I think I got a couple of good photos of Benny and Björn in their seats in the circle. Long way from the stage for Judy Craymer and Catherine Johnson to drag them. Will look at photos later and send any in that are decent.

  7. Cast were fab. Bjorn thanked Benny for his support and said Abba were playing at the Drapers Arms (joke!) and Benny plugged July 4th.
    Wonderful night. I had nice chat with Louise Plowright before the show – she hasn’t seen it since she left it. She’s just done a play in Bristol by Catherine Johnson, who turned up as we were finishing our chat. Bless!
    I still love ABBA! And especially B&B. Great to hear on Elaine’s show that Carnegie Hall is still in the works!

  8. Just got in! What a fantastic night. I think it’s the best performance I have seen and infinitely better than the film. I waited outside for BB Lena and Ludvig to arrive and had a great position. Then took my seat in the circle. With 15 minutes to the start, BBLL all came into the circle and sat 2 rows from the front. The cheers that greeted them were great. Plus Judy Cramer and others joined them. A Chinese lady was late to the start with her drinks, and realised should would have had to upseat Benny and Ludvig to reach her seat. So she walked all the way round and got in from the other side aisle! Superb night for the fans.

  9. The show was a surprise birthday present from my husband. I think he was equally if not more surprised when we realised it was the 10th anniversary performance. The evening just got better and better, sitting close to the celebs, champagne at the interval, an amazing show and I even got a balloon printed with the date!

  10. I wish I’d had a ticket- sadly I didn’t -I was too slow! But I was there to see Benny and Bjorn arrive-a thrill- although I mainly saw the tops of their heads!
    To the man opposite who was signalling for me to take his picture in the crowd-sorry I was a bit slow. I have a couple of shots I can email you if you get in touch. You were near the front with a Money Money Money single, and near the Swedish Hat
    ladies!I was the woman with brown hair.
    I also have a fairly decent pic of Bjorn signing in the crowd-through holding my camera up!
    Can anyone tell me what B+B said on the stage- is there film of it anywhere?Wish I’d been in there.

  11. Good thing that Benny and Bjorn did turn up as that?s the only reason people will remember the ten year night performance. as apart from extra confetti and streamers the show was a routine performance.

    Ten year runs performances can be a way to celebrate the shows success keeping the shows structure but then creating a special one off performance as per the ten year gala shows for London’s Chicago and Les Mis and New York’s Rent being the prime examples. Mamma Mia producers went out of their way to get fans into the nights ten year show and then did nothing difference apart from getting the guys in and free drinks.

    Credit to the producers for allowing free camera use inside at the intervals for people at the front to photograph the guys in the balcony and all though the encore (If you took pictures/videos please post you tube or somewhere for those of us further back) and to Dynamo Joanne Munro (who by a long way got the loudest cast cheer) and Ben Jennings who was the understudy for Pepper both of whom seems to be the only cast members to actually realise the night was a special one where they could react to audience expectations and give more than the standard routine.

    It was nice to be part of Mamma Mia history and be there for the 10 year turn and a great night for ABBA fans to see two members up close but as an event to really celebrate Mamma Mia success in its own right it was wasted (not meaning to sound to down beat on it but based purely on the actual Mamma Mia show performance and not on the guys showing up then I would be surprised if most people would say it was the best performance of the show they have seen, and really it should have been stand out.)

  12. There certainly was a great atmosphere last night and the show seemed funnier than usual and very fresh. There seemed to be some new extra dialogue too in places. It makes you very proud as an Abba fan to be part of these events and seeing people of all ages all around you enjoying themselves. It is amazing to think that it was 10 years since the show opened and since I went on the very first Friday performance, which feels like only a few years ago! Looking forward to the next 10 years!

  13. Benny & Bjorn- thank you so much for signing my ticket and being so friendly to us as you came in. FAB night!!We love you. Terry Malloy, Brighton xxxx

  14. Vicky – I’ve incorporated your wonderful video into the page now. Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone.

  15. Wow what a night…

    1) Bjorn signed my programme as he arrived!
    2) I passed Judy Cramer just standing in the foyer so went over to congratulate her on the success of MM she was full of fun and happy to chat away and even held my hands as she thanked me for thanking her!
    3) No sooner have I taken my seat in row C of the circle and I nearly fall out of it as Bjorn, Lena, Benny, Ludvig, Gorel etc all sit down in row B!

    The atmosphere was electric, the pints (literally) of free champagne and an absolutly fantastic performance were a bonus!

    On the down side, I was a little dissapointed that Frida didn’t show up and very surprised not to see Mona with Benny. Was it me or did anyone else think Benny looked tired and strained. Whenever I saw him, he was really quiet and looking at his feet. Several times throughout the performance (not that I was staring!!) he even had his head in his hands. Not at all the relaxed animated and jovial self I,ve seen before (until he got on stage). That aside a wonderful night I will never forget.

  16. Thanks to Mark and Vicky (and Ice) for posting the video and pictures – there were a whole gang of people at the front with cameras so hopefully there’s a lot more to come on line – a request if any Ice the site readers were in the front row – as the lights started to dim the normal announcement came up about no cameras or other recording devices , just at that point Benny and Bjorn must have gone to their seats in the circle as all the people in the stalls front rows produced cameras and started taking pictures of the guys upstairs!. It happened briefly at the start of the second act as well – If any Ice the site readers did take any picture of the guys in their seats please post the pictures – thanks in advance.

    Some good pictures on the http://www.whatsonstage.com/ site as well of the night and a report of the night

  17. Was on the front row but because I have been travelling I haven’t been able to post the photos. Will hopefully get a chance this weekend. Haven’t even looked at my photos yet! Great night though especially as we were with some friends who had never seen the show. It was fantastic to see their reactions, it was like seeing it for the first time sharing in their joy. Night got better as I managed to get Bjorn and Benny’s autograph but Bjorn, if you read this, can I have my pen back!!

    J-ase

  18. J-ase, I’m not sure if I,ve got your pen as Bjorn gave me his after signing my programme unless yours was better and he was just upgrading has anyone else been involved in this game of musical pens I wonder?

    Anne

  19. Wot a fab friend I have in Jan,to get 2 Tickets for the Decade Performance of Mamma Mia.Wow!! wot a night.Seeing Bjorn and Benny in the flesh is also an added bonus.Camera’s flashing and an aray of fans fighting to get autographs.Its never a dull moment for us ABBA Nuts.Now The Show was as I remembered it 2yrs ago,but with a different casting and hilarious outakes and of course all the well known Abba Hits.Everyone clapping,with streamers and glitter falling from the ceiling and stage fireworks and a speech from the boys after the show.You feel a sense of pride of what Abba have achieved through 35 yrs or more.Here’s to the Next Ten!!!!

  20. Just a note to say that the role of Pepper was played by Ben Heathcote, on the night of the 10th Anniversary, not Ben Jennings as mentioned in an above post.

  21. Boy, it was indeed a memorable night as I also had the opportunity to meet Benny, Bjorn, Judy Craymer and Catherine Johnson. ABBA was a group I have been listening to since I was 6 years old and I never imagined that I would meet both their male band members one day. Although I passed Judy at the Royal Charity Gala Performance in 2004, I was then too shy to speak with her.

    I first went to see "Mamma Mia!" in the summer of 1999 and have never looked back. Since then, I have been going to the show regularly in London and have seen it almost 70 times now. Although I go to many other musicals in the West End, "Mamma Mia!" is the best!

  22. Thank you so much for these!!! I am the guy with bald head, goatee, black leather jacket, and am amazed and so lucky to be on here, and to have touched Benny & Bjorn and get autograohs..still hard to take in!! Hi to everyone who was there!! Sorry we lost track of some people at the t he end, hope you back home alright, esp the two going to Brighton/Lewes.Love, Terry xx

  23. Well, what can we say? What a night! We took our seats in the dress circle, then just as the performance was about to start, Bjorn and Benny came through the door. Both guys looked relaxed and stopped next to us. I couldnt believe that after watching ABBA for years Benny and Bjorn were stood next to us. Both guys signed our promo Mamma Mia! – The Movie soundtrack cd, and Benny also signed our Mamma Mia! dvd. Then as the lights went down Benny and Bjorn sat down, with Benny just 7 rows infront of us. A few minutes into the performance, Judy Craymer came through and took her seat. During the interval we managed to get Judy’s autograph too. Judy seemed very relaxed and was lovely to us.

    We still cant believe that we met both Benny and Bjorn. It was a dream come true for us and a night we’ll never forget.

  24. There’s also a centre-spread advert celebrating 10 years in this week’s Stage newspaper. And a small news piece about the event.

  25. Thanks Williams for the Pepper understudy update – I presumed it was Ben Jennings as he was listed as first understudy in the Programme and wa son the cast board in the foyer – Ben Heathcote doesnt seem to get a bio listing in my programme or a cover slip which on one of the biggest show nights this year may indicate he needs a new agent!
    Good that the show got good TV reports and also Web coverage but I didnt see anything in the papers – keeping newspaper clippings was a major part of being a ABBA fan I suppose now you keep web files on USB sticks and dvds – not as much fun to flick through!

  26. In answer to Stephen UK’s comments regarding Ben Heathcote, he did not have a bio listing in the programme as he was covering Giovanni Spano for a few weeks due to Giovanni being injured and having to undergo surgery. Ben played Pepper until Saturday, 11th April and is scheduled to return to "Mamma Mia!" again when the cast changes on Monday, 15th June – he has played Pepper in the past and is excellent in that role!

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