Mamma Mia! the Zoo-sical?

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’.”

Mamma Mia! was Animal Crackers


  • I think the story is a bit misleading. The first paragraph implies that this was an early version of Mamma Mia!, but the second paragraph gives the impression that this was a totally different project. Either way, good of B&B to stop it.

  • I quite like the idea of Abba:the zoosical. Imagine the songs: Prancing Queen by Henry the Horse, The Prey before you Came by Lenny the Lion, I Let the Music Squeak by Pernilla the Pig…and at last, a script with room for Just Like Cat.

  • Hi Frances.
    I think you should copyright those names and titles, and start producing ‘ABBA: The Zoosical’ straight away, before someone steels your ideas!
    Perhaps liaise with Dreamworks to do it… it could even have guest stars from the Madagascar movies (King Julien would definitely need to appear 😉
    Cheers, Tony.

  • Tony, I think you’re on to something. And we could have Agnetha and Frida doing the voices for two of the characters – at last a way to get them all working together again!

  • Thanks.
    Actually, it would be great to hear them together again, and also to hear them doing humorous revised lyrics. Some other songs could be: ‘The Visitors (Crocin’ Up)’, ‘Hen, All Is Said And Done’, ‘Soldier (Ants)’, ‘Kipper Through My Fingers’ (or: ‘Slipping Through My Kippers’), ‘Like An Aardvark Passing Through My room’.
    Cheers again. Tony.

  • Oh dear…

    I for one am glad this never happened.

Please leave a comment...