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111 of 113 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the music, 4 for the performances
Last October, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold-out performance of "Mamma Mia" on Broadway, starring Louise Pitre. It was one of the most fun shows I've yet attended, a sing-along from start to finish, and the audience is literally dancing in the aisles by the show's finale. Unfortunately, the energy doesn't translate well to the Original Cast CD. I...
Published on April 8, 2002 by S. Fennell

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great show, poor CD representation!!!
As said before by many of the other reviewers MAMA MIA! is awesome, I would recommend it to anyone. High spirited, high energy, AAAAAA++++ I saw it in NYC, the cast was amazing. As for this CD though, I would advise waiting until a new version comes out. I was disappointed. The music loses 75% of the feeling. The energy of the songs and the humor is lost with this...
Published on March 13, 2003 by christine


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111 of 113 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the music, 4 for the performances, April 8, 2002
By 
S. Fennell "pianistcritic" (Somewhere out there.....beneath the pale moon light...) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
Last October, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold-out performance of "Mamma Mia" on Broadway, starring Louise Pitre. It was one of the most fun shows I've yet attended, a sing-along from start to finish, and the audience is literally dancing in the aisles by the show's finale. Unfortunately, the energy doesn't translate well to the Original Cast CD. I don't really think it's the fault of the cast; it's got to be difficult to re-create in the studio what you're used to performing in front of a (literally) screaming audience for eight shows a week, but for whatever reason, the CD is missing something. Part of the fault could be in the mixing; there's an almost "boxed in" feel to the instruments on the album, (seems to be hardly any reverb at all), and the synthesized orchestrations seem thin, something that did not come across as such in the theater. Another disappointment is that even though the CD does have all the featured songs from the show, it's still not really complete. The Overture has been drastically edited, which is really inexcusable in a cast album, but the most glaring omission is the 3 song "mini-concert" encore. At the end of the show, the entire cast takes the stage for an unbelievably high-energy run-through of "Dancing Queen", "Mamma Mia", and yes, "Waterloo", with exhaustive choreography going on the whole time. Why this was left off the CD is beyond me. Decca Records should also watch what they're doing with "truth in advertising". The cover of the CD proclaims that this is a "Decca Broadway Original Cast Album". Many casual buyers are going to interpret that to mean it's the Broadway Cast album. Guess again. This recording is the London Cast; there is no Broadway album as of yet. I knew this before I bought it, but many people will not. FYI for the unitiated; Decca Broadway is the name of the record label only, and doesn't always guarantee that you're getting the Broadway cast on the recording. This seems very misleading to me. Decca should have it printed CLEARLY on the cover that this is the London Cast. Those points aside, the show and it's songs are a LOT of fun, (It's ABBA, what else could it be?). I'm still holding out for a Broadway cast album, though.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This musical is HOT!, January 7, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
Despite not being all that big of an ABBA fan, seeing this musical in London left me craving this CD. The cast is incredibly talented, and the energy level these actors bring to these songs add a really new dimension to these songs. On stage, Lisa Stokke, in the role as Sophie, makes a spectacular debut, and her talented voice comes clearly across on this CD. No recording can do the live show justice though. Right now this is one of the hardest shows to get tickets to in London, but if you plan to be there, I highly reccommend getting one. If not, then the CD will have to do.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captures the music - but not the excitement - of the show, January 7, 2001
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This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
I saw Mamma Mia during the first weekend of its SF run....
But Mamma Mia is not about the plot. It's about the music. The small thread of a storyline exists only as a vehicle to carry the music. And the music is glorious. Anyone who grew up in the 70s and says that don't like ABBA is either lying or going through one of those (strange) repressed memory things. The show - and this soundtrack - demonstrate the power of this quartet's music. The music sounds as fresh today as it did in the mid-seventies. They were an amazing hit machine in their heyday, and the 20+ tracks here contain one smash after another, each with simple hooks that were seared into your brain a long time ago.
The only reasons I gave this four stars instead of five...
1. The gold standard for soundtracks is 'Rent' - it totally captures the energy and emotion of the live show. The 'Mamma Mia' soundtrack is great listening, but it doesn't do justice to the experience of seeing the show live.
2. The complete libretto is not here, only the songs. [The 'Rent' soundtrack gives you all but a couple of snippets of dialogue.]
3. No 'Waterloo.' In the stage show, this is the send-off song of the encore. 'Waterloo' is the song that first brought ABBA to worldwide acclaim. It's not part of the play's storyline, but it sure would be nice to have it as a bonus track on this recording.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abba-solutely Fabulous, August 14, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
I had been a big ABBA fan for a while now, and was skeptical at how well MAMMA MIA! would treat those uplifting, glorious pop tunes. But this recording has made me a fan of MAMMA MIA!.
I was so taken by the new versions of those wonderful ABBA songs. I've been playing this CD over and over and over again on my CD players... I listen to it on my stereo, my discman, my car CD player... and the funny thing is, my family loves it as well. We've been fighting over it. In fact, one of my family members brought it to her office today, and I had to resort to playing ABBA Gold.
What sets this recording apart from other cast recordings of musicals is that it really close to capturing the essence and the energy of the live performance. Although at the theatre, the music is played on a much louder soundsystem.
I saw MAMMA MIA! at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre in May, and the cast there was brilliant. The voices are far superior to the ones heard here on the Original London Cast Recording. In fact, the producers of the show have noted that the entire North American Premiere Cast is far superior to both the Original London Cast and the Current London Cast.
I saw the show in London this past July, and was unbelievably disappointed at the production there. The cast was inferior to the Toronto cast, and the audience was dead. This was not the same energetic, amazing show that I saw in Toronto. Audiences at the Royal Alexandra Theatre are blown away by the performance, while London audiences are walking away thinking it's an okay show.
Good thing that the North American Premiere Cast is going on tour in the United States, allowing more people to discover MAMMA MIA! and see it as a wonderful, energetic show. Too bad for London audiences, who are seeing a mediocre production.
So obviously, one of the things that bother me about this particular cast recording is that the voices are not that great, in comparison with the Toronto cast. Siobhan McCarthy, who plays Donna, does not have the powerhouse voice of Toronto's Louise Pitre. Her "Winner Takes It All" isn't sublime like Louise Pitre's, whose version of the song is considered the definitive take on the song, both by ABBA's Benny & Bjorn, and by ABBA fans. In comparison to Louise, her voice is thin and weak, although it sounds sweet.
The male leads aren't that great either, including the three dads, as well as Sky. Lisa Stokke as Sophie was fine, and is probably the strongest singer in the entire recording.
Another thing that bothers me with this cast recording is that it edits out some favourite parts heard live in the show. The Overture has been edited, and doesn't feature the lovely symphonic version of the title song. The song "Honey Honey" is not complete either, missing a couple of verses.
I love this recording, however, and is a great introduction to the show, which is why I'm still giving it 5 stars. It made me fall in love with the show.
But mind you, this cast is not as fantastic as the North American cast. Until a recording with Louise Pitre as Donna is released, then I'll have to settle for this one.
Avoid seeing the show in London with the absolutely boring cast headed by Louise Plowright as Donna (not to be confused with Louise Pitre). You'll be gipped.
The trip to Toronto to see MAMMA MIA! starring Louise Pitre would be more worthwhile.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa Mamma!, August 25, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
After seeing the Boston premiere of MAMMA MIA last night at the Colonial Theatre, I now have a new favorite show. Who'd of thunk that ABBA could put their songs together in a COHEARENT musical that actually had a plot?! MAMMA MIA was fantastic. The 6 leads were fantastic, and this CD captures the essence of the show (although there are different performers). All of the songs fit beautifully into the show, and there are show stopping renditions of Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, Winner Takes it All, S.O.S. and Voulez-Vous. These new orchestrations really enhance the music, and I think that there is a new icon of musical theatre. Look out Broadway, a monster hit is on its way. If you have a chance (even if you don't love ABBA or aren't familiar with them...I'm 18 and ABBA was before my time) go see MAMMA MIA (or at least buy this CD) and I promise you wont be disapointed in this feel-good musical. To Benny and Bjorn...THANKS FOR THE MUSICAL!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mamma Mia Groupies, November 8, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
"Mamma Mia" is an experience to behold. If this show does not lift your spirit and leave a big smile on your face, nothing will. We have the previledge of seeing "Mamma Mia" twice during its recent Chicago run. We will be seeing it again in Toronto in a couple of months. We are becoming regular "Mamma Mia" groupies!
The CD does not quite capture the energy and exhilaration that one experiences during the live show, but it will remind you the great time that you had. We now prefer this CD over the original ABBA version of the songs because it tells a funny and poignant story. The singers on this CD are all just fine. Our 2-year old loves this CD and requests it whenever he just wants to goof around the house.
Some of the outstanding players that we saw in Chicago, namely Louise Pitre and Tina Madigan, are now playing in the Broadway edition of "Mamma Mia." We hope that a CD version of the Broadway Cast will be forthcoming, and please include the unforgettable final curtain call encore that is missing on this CD. Those of you who have seen the show know just how that encore brings the house down everytime.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great show, poor CD representation!!!, March 13, 2003
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
As said before by many of the other reviewers MAMA MIA! is awesome, I would recommend it to anyone. High spirited, high energy, AAAAAA++++ I saw it in NYC, the cast was amazing. As for this CD though, I would advise waiting until a new version comes out. I was disappointed. The music loses 75% of the feeling. The energy of the songs and the humor is lost with this record. The words seem less meaningful and many songs are missing. The overture is cut and the finale is not here. If you truely want to see MAMA MIA! go to NYC the company is wonderful. Perfectly cast. You will dance in your seat. This CD was a major disappointment. Wait for a new version.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOW IT'S IN LOS ANGELES...., February 23, 2001
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
Do not go into "Mamma Mia" expecting Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd," that's for sure. But I can't think of a show I've seen that was this much sheer fun. The thought of building an entire musical around 20 ABBA songs sounds insane, but the entire show works, and works very well. I can see why it is such a success in London. This CD captures the flavor of the show very nicely, and will make you pine to pull out all those old ABBA albums and dance around the house late at night. I do wonder if the makers are planning on releasing a US-Broadway version of the cast album....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its like seeing the show live!, May 17, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
When I was fortunate enough to see the original production at the Prince Edward Theatre in London in the summer of 1999 I knew I was witness to something great. I had not had that much fun in a theatre ever. But sometimes a great show does not a great recording make. This however is not the case here.
What the brilliant cast has done is transport the listener perfectly to the world they create every night on stage. This album has been produced to induce the uphoria the live show creates. There is a perfect blend of dialouge and and music thats allows the listener to be able to grasp just enough of the plot and get the full enjoyment of the classic ABBA score.
For me personally the show is filled with very good performances. The British Musical Theatre as a whole, in my opinon, contains far fewer "legit" voices than contemporary Broadway and that is evident here. But there are wonderful exceptions. As Donna "I am woman here me roar" Sheridan, Siobhan McCarthy is incredible. She has made a career of understudying and replaceing Elaine Paige. But here she makes it her own. Listening to her you hear the similarities between her and Ms. Paige and I wonder if Ms. Paige wasn't offered this first. But the grity and true vocal performance she gives will be hard pressed to ever duplicate.
This is a prized recording in my collection and I recomend it highly to lovers of the musical theatre and lovers of entertaining music.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It felt like I was at an ABBA concert!, December 26, 2000
By 
Val A. Balagot (Antelope, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mamma Mia! The Musical Based on the Songs of ABBA: Original Cast Recording (1999 London Cast) (Audio CD)
As a Christmas treat, we went to see "Mamma Mia!" in San Francisco. And what a treat it was! The entire audience was really into the musical, and hardly anyone was sitting by the end of the third encore. So I got this CD, but the performances on this CD by the London cast pales in comparison with the live show. Still, it's a very good memento of one of the best musicals I've seen, and I've seen my fair share. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a re-release of the soundtrack with the Toronto cast, which performed at the Orpheum. And if they include "Waterloo", which was the third encore, I'll be in heaven! ("Mamma mia!" and "Dancing Queen" were the other two). So head on down to the Bay Area and see this show! If you can't, then this CD will some consolation.
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