'Mamma Mia!' bookings Abba-solutely great

Mamma Mia! cast members (from left) Harriet Moir, as Rosie, Megan Martin, as Tanya, and Ali Harper, as Donna, perform Dancing Queen at the final dress rehearsal in the Regent Theatre last night. Photo by Craig Baxter. A music phenomenon which imploded more than 30 years ago is set to break box office records in Dunedin this week.

Abba tribute show Mamma Mia! has exceeded all ticket sale expectations ahead of its South Island premiere at the Regent Theatre tonight.

The $420,000 production is a joint venture between promoter Doug Kamo and the Taieri Musical Society.

''It is a big, big show so, as a promoter, you always have concerns. You don't want to [financially] damage your family,'' Mr Kamo said yesterday.

''It's been a big undertaking for the Taieri Musical Society, too. This is the first time they've stepped outside Coronation Hall. If it doesn't go well, it could put any musical society under.''

The producers initially committed to five shows, before being encouraged by rampant pre-sales to extend the season.

''The first five shows sold very, very well. It really has been phenomenal. The premium seats sold out in the first three or four weeks, which is unprecedented in Dunedin. It's blown all pre-sales for a musical at the Regent out of the water over the last decade,'' Mr Kamo said.

''We've put a 10th show on now and that's all we're contractually allowed.''

More than 8000 tickets had been sold for the 1500-seat shows, with another 238 tickets selling yesterday.

''We're hoping to get close to 11,000 for the season, which would be staggering.''

A feature of the production is two multimedia components, including a full LED screen at the back of the stage. The 28-strong cast had been rehearsing since January, Mr Kamo said.

''We can't wait for the curtain to come up. The cast has worked so hard. I've never had a cast like it. I'm just proud as punch.''



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