Mamma Mia! played for 14 years on Broadway, even transferring from the Winter Garden Theater to the Broadhurst Theater successfully. The musical, based on the music of ABBA, told a fun story about a young woman raised by a single mother who wanted to find out once and for all who her father was. She invited all three potential fathers to her wedding much to the concern of her mother. It's a fun, light-hearted show that I really enjoyed.
Mamma Mia! received five Tony nominations, including Best Musical, ultimately losing out to Thoroughly Modern Millie. The success of Mamma Mia! led to a feature film adaptation (Golden Globe nominee for Best Picture - Comedy or Musical and Best Actress) that has even returned to theaters years later in a sing-along version. There's even talk of a sequel film.
Mamma Mia! ushered in the age of the Jukebox Musical, taking the old hat catalog musical and actually writing a new story based on the music of a single artist in a single genre.
As of its closing on Saturday, 12 September, Mamma Mia! played 5773 performances on Broadway. Congratulations to everyone involved in the success of the production.
On the other end of the pop/rock musical spectrum, Hedwig and the Angry Inch also played its closing performance this weekend. John Cameron Mitchell and Stephn Trask's brilliant rock musical about a gay man from East Berlin escaping to America through a botched sex change operation is extraordinary. The original off-Broadway production won huge accolades and led to the creation of the Golden Globe Award-nominated film of the same name.
Last year, the show was revamped for its Broadway debut (16 years after the iconic off-Broadway production) and received an even bigger welcome. Instead of taking place in a TGIF-like restaurant, the new Hedwig and the Angry Inch was set in the recently closed production of Hurt Locker: The Musical. In other words, Hedwig moved up in the world and was squatting in the Belasco Theater. The story largely stayed the same, but the scale of the production expanded to feel natural in a much larger theater.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch won four Tony Awards last year, including Best Revival, Best Actor, and Best Featured Actress. This year, John Cameron Mitchell received an honorary Tony Award for both returning to the stage in his iconic role and for his work in creating three distinct versions of this incredible musical. Neil Patrick Harris (Tony Winner for this performance), Andrew Rannels (Tony nominee for The Book of Mormon), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Darren Criss (Glee), and Taye Diggs (Benny in the OBC of Rent) also put on the blonde feathered wig for this revival. Lena Hall (Tony Winner for this performance), Shannon Conley (acclaimed voice actress), and Rebecca Naomi James (star of American Idiot on Broadway) painted on the beard to play Yithzak.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch closed yesterday, 13 September, after 507 performances. How did they get so many performances in just over a year? They sometimes did 9 shows a week, with 7PM and 10PM performances on Saturdays. Congratulations to everyone involved for finally getting this beloved modern classic to Broadway.