BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Mamma Mia! Here they go again … The Abba themed show returns for a limited run

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Fans of Abba are ‘blue since the day we said goodbye’ to the mother of all hit musicals, Mamma Mia!

But – here we go again – rest assured, as the show returns, for a limited run, to the 100-acre site of one of the country’s largest manors.

Judy Craymer, the mastermind behind the long-running hit, told me a full production of Mamma Mia! will play 23 performances in August on a purpose-built stage, complete with massive sound system and spectacular lighting design, at Harewood House in Leeds.

The producer said it would be people’s first chance to see the musical since the West End and tour versions closed in the UK a year ago.

Fans of Abba are ‘blue since the day we said goodbye’ to the mother of all hit musicals, Mamma Mia!

Craymer was definitely exulting (it made me torment ‘there’s a fire in her soul’) when we spoke yesterday.

“It’s literally under the stars!” she said of the show’s first full outdoor run, which kicks off Aug. 12 with an invite-only performance for NHS and key employees.

Craymer revealed that the public will be able to see it August 13-30; and she promised a ‘mega-mix extraordinaire’ finale, conceived by choreographer Anthony Van Laast, that was guaranteed to get people dancing.

The show can seat 1,800 people per performance. “We have a social distance, by the nature of the event,” Craymer said.

Judy Craymer (pictured), the mastermind behind the long-running hit, told me a full production of Mamma Mia!  will play 23 performances on a purpose-built stage, complete with massive sound system and spectacular lighting design, at Harewood House in Leeds, this August

Judy Craymer (pictured), the mastermind behind the long-running hit, told me a full production of Mamma Mia! will play 23 performances on a purpose-built stage, complete with massive sound system and spectacular lighting design, at Harewood House in Leeds, this August

Audiences can arrive early, enjoy a varied menu of picnic boxes, sit on chairs (or a Mamma Mia!-Themed carpet) and ‘enjoy a drink and then watch the show’, although no food is allowed once it begins.

In the production, Sara Poyzer plays the lead role as heroine Donna Sheridan. Poyzer’s husband Richard Standing has been cast alongside her to play Sam, one of Donna’s former suitors.

“They’ve done that before,” Craymer said. “I laughed and thought, what’s going on in their minds when she roars Winner Takes It All ?!”

The cast will be members of the UK and international touring group, who played Hull’s New Theater in March when it was forced to close due to Covid restrictions.

The producer said it would be people's first chance to see the musical since the West End and touring versions closed in the UK a year ago.

The producer said it would be people’s first chance to see the musical since the West End and touring versions closed in the UK a year ago.

In the production Sara Poyzer (photo) plays the lead role as heroine Donna Sheridan.  Poyzer's husband Richard Standing has been cast alongside her to play Sam, one of Donna's former suitors

In the production Sara Poyzer (photo) plays the lead role as heroine Donna Sheridan. Poyzer’s husband Richard Standing has been cast alongside her to play Sam, one of Donna’s former suitors

Helen Anker and Nicky Swift will play the Dynamos with Poyzer; Daniel Crowder and Jamie Kenna play Donna’s other former beaus.

By the time Mamma Mia! opens on the 18th-century Palladian stack, Craymer said most people would have had the Covid vaccine – including the cast, musicians, technicians, and the front of house and backstage crews.

She is considering filming the show at Harewood House, although she has ruled out streaming it.

The stately home experiment is one she’d like to repeat next year. ‘There are some wonderful places to do it. Like Blenheim for example. ‘

Craymer revealed that the musical would reopen at London’s Novello Theater, with Mazz Murray as Donna and Emma Mullen as Sophie, possibly as early as September – without shaking off social distance.

“We can’t play 50 percent,” she told me. ‘We are on our knees; large and small producers. ‘

Oh, yes, and the Mamma Mia! 3 movie, which I revealed last June, is bubbling away in development.

Tickets £ 39.50- £ 75.50, on sale March 19, mamma-mia.com/harewood-house.

DERREN ADD MAGIC TO THE INVISIBLE MAN

Whoosh. He’s gone! Derren Brown, the award-winning mentalist and illusionist, disappears into his box of tricks to create a compelling production of The Invisible Man, based – very loosely – on HG Wells’ book.

Brown developed the show for 18 months and will be joined by playwright and author Barney Norris who will write the script. And just to emphasize: Brown won’t be in it.

Iain Gillie, the producer, along with Peter Wilson (a driving force behind The Woman In Black), assured me that there will be ‘invisibility in front of your face’ in the show, which plans to open in a non-traditional theater space in London in the fall of 2022.

Gillie noted that ‘Derren is brilliant in the showmanship aspect of performance’.

Brown’s tricks – which often leave audiences gasping for breath – begin when people buy their tickets (they’re not on sale yet!). “The show is kind of on the moment you book,” Gillie said mysteriously. “Very Derren Brownish.”

He said Brown was approached because they wanted someone ‘left field’ to reimagine The Invisible Man as a modern day thriller. “We need to do things that a young audience will find exciting enough to spend their money on,” he said. “Younger generations want to get their money’s worth – and they need that buzz.”

Stay tuned on derrenbrown.co.uk.

Derren Brown (pictured), the award-winning mentalist and illusionist, disappears into his box of tricks to create a compelling production of The Invisible Man, based - very loosely - on the HG Wells book

Derren Brown (pictured), the award-winning mentalist and illusionist, disappears into his box of tricks to create a compelling production of The Invisible Man, based – very loosely – on the HG Wells book

Musical The Prince Of Egypt has performed a minor miracle – the show will reopen on July 1 at London’s Dominion Theater.

Thanks to the massive capacity of more than 2000, the audience can be spread out so they can distance themselves socially.

Based on the 1998 animated film (and the Book of Exodus), the musical – starring Luke Brady, Liam Tamne, Christine Allado, Alexia Khadime and Debbie Kurup – is about the rivalry between Moses and Ramses.

Musical The Prince Of Egypt has performed a minor miracle - the show will reopen on July 1 at London's Dominion Theater

Musical The Prince Of Egypt has performed a minor miracle – the show will reopen on July 1 at London’s Dominion Theater

Thanks to the massive capacity of more than 2000, the audience can be spread out so they can distance themselves socially

Thanks to the massive capacity of more than 2000, the audience can be spread out so they can distance themselves socially

Several other gigs, such as Les Miserables: The Staged Concert, will resume from May 20. But the lack of Covid insurance is a major problem for producers.

As Cameron Mackintosh noted, “We’re plowing through the syrup of what coming out of lockdown means.”

Tickets for The Prince Of Egypt are available for purchase from 12:00 PM on theprinceofegyptmusical.com.

Based on the 1998 animated film (and the Book of Exodus), the musical - starring Luke Brady, Liam Tamne, Christine Allado, Alexia Khadime and Debbie Kurup - is about the rivalry between Moses and Ramses

Based on the 1998 animated film (and the Book of Exodus), the musical – starring Luke Brady, Liam Tamne, Christine Allado, Alexia Khadime and Debbie Kurup – is about the rivalry between Moses and Ramses

Several other performances, such as Les Miserables: The Staged Concert, will resume from May 20.  But the lack of Covid insurance is a major problem for producers

Several other performances, such as Les Miserables: The Staged Concert, will resume from May 20. But the lack of Covid insurance is a major problem for producers