'Mamma Mia!' back onstage at Fox, in cinemas soon

Back in the late '90s, British producer Judy Craymer got the idea that there was a musical waiting to be born from the Nordic disco tunes of Swedish pop group ABBA. Now there are 11 productions of the zany all-ages jukeboxer around the world, including the North American tour, which plays the Fox Theatre for the fourth time this weekend. Next month, Hollywood will cash in on "The Winner Takes It All" phenomenon with a summer film starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan. So what's the story behind this "Super Trouper" crowd-pleaser? Here's the dish:


No, it's not an ABBA bio. In this stitched-to-order confection, bride-to-be Sophie and mom Donna live an idyllic existence running a taverna on a Greek island. Things get interesting when Sophie reads her mom's diary and invites her three possible dads to the wedding. (Apparently, her mother does not know.) Turns out that Donna used to front a girl group —- hence the ABBA tunes —- so when her two former bandmates arrive for the nuptials, the spandex gets tight and the plot thickens. "It's very Greek," says Donna's friend, Rosie. This being pure fairy tale, no DNA testing allowed.


Streep plays Donna, and she does sing. Christine Baranski and Julie Walters are her hot-lipped cohorts Tanya and Rosie. Brosnan, Firth and Stellan Skarskgard are her former boyfriends. Seyfried ("Big Love") is Sophie, and Dominic Cooper ("The History Boys") is her dreamy boyfriend, Sky. The film is scheduled for release on July 18.


The West End hit moved to Broadway in 2001, right after Sept. 11, when America needed some silly escapist fun. "Knowing Me, Knowing You" —- ahuh —- there'll be dancing queens at the Fox all weekend. Tonight-Sunday. $25-$64. Broadway Across America-Atlanta, Fox Theatre. 404-817-8700, ticketmaster.com

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