Mamma Mia! has been seen by more than 55 million people around the world and translated into 16 different languages. Now, Björn Ulvaeus has unveiled plans to open a Mamma Mia! themed, interactive restaurant, on the Stockholm island of Djurgården.
Mamma Mia! The Party, is scheduled to open at Restaurant Tyrol in Gröna Lund, Stockholm’s famous amusement park, just across the road from ABBA The Museum in January 2016. The existing restaurant, which opened in 1933, is to be completely rebuilt to resemble a Greek Taverna with a seating capacity for up to 450 guests.
At a press conference earlier this week, Björn spoke about the idea behind the venture:
“I have sat in theatres around the world ever since Mamma Mia! first opened and experienced that happy atmosphere in the audience when people stand up in the aisles and dance and sing.
“This is the next extension of that: transfer the mood to a restaurant, a Greek restaurant of course, and have a huge party.
“My vision is that this restaurant will be like a Mamma Mia! bubble, where people can just have a bloody good time. I can see the audience in front of me, how they’re laughing and singing along and having loads of fun. I want to re-create the same party spirit that the musical is known for,” Björn said.
“As soon as they walk through the doors, fans will be transported to the surroundings of an authentic Greek taverna, complete with olive trees, fountains, the scent of rosemary and a warm breeze from the Mediterranean Sea.
“It will be part restaurant, part stage show and part role play. Guests will be able to listen to music, eat Greek food, watch and take part in the show. They will be able to become the stars of their own personal version of Mamma Mia!,” he explained.
The stage will be set in a small restaurant, owned by a man called Nikos and his slightly younger Swedish wife, on the Greek island of Skopelos, where Mamma Mia! The Movie was filmed.
However, although the Greek island setting remains unchanged the plot will not follow the precise storyline of the stage show or movie. Instead, it will be semi-improvised from night to night, based on interactions with the audience.
And Björn promises that there will be plenty of room for improvisation and audience participation, but of course, only if the guests are up for it.
“If for example, I was to sit in the audience, the actors would see that ‘this one’, he doesn’t want to participate, but ‘that other guy’, he wants to get up and dance. People should feel safe,” he said.
“The song lyrics will be in English and the actors will use a mix of English and Swedish dialogue depending on the audience. If it’s mostly an international audience it will be in English, because Swedes speak such good English anyway,” he said.
Mamma Mia! The Party, is at this stage very much an experiment, but, if the project is successful, Björn sees no reason why it couldn’t also work in other cities around the world.
“If we can find the right place in London, Hamburg or wherever, then maybe eventually there will be a ‘Nicos’ Taverna’ there too,” he said. “It could turn into a very big party indeed!”.
Mamma Mia! The Party will premiere in Stockholm on 20 January 2016.
Tickets go on sale on 25 August 2015.