Swedish music icon Björn Ulvaeus revealed details of his upcoming project, Mamma Mia The Party, as he gave the keynote speech at the Euro Attractions Show (EAS) in Gothenburg today (7 October).
The former ABBA member, who has successfully turned the pop foursome, their music and their story into a cultural IP, said his latest project will be an immersive four-hour dining experience in Stockholm.
This follows the success of ABBA The Museum, also in the Swedish capital
a project that Ulvaeus spearheaded. It’s a concept that “everyone is doing”, Ulvaeus said, with The Edge from U2 and Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones both visiting the ABBA museum and deciding to do something similar.
The new project, Mamma Mia The Party is “dinner entertainment” – a themed restaurant inspired by Mamma Mia!
and set in a Greek taverna.
“We are going to treat people to wonderful Mediterranean food and drink in this taverna environment, and we are going to treat them to a real-time story with characters Nikos, the host of the tavern, his wife Christine, his daughter and other characters,” Ulvaeus said.
“Between courses there will be dramatic interludes where the story is played out. There'll be a little conflict, and hopefully a happy ending. Diners are part of the story, if they want to be. If they want to sit back and watch, they can,” he said. “It’s an evening of great fun in the Mamma Mia!
Ulvaeus said the idea of the party experience – which opens at the Tyrol restaurant at Gröna Lund, Sweden, on 16 January 2016 – came from working with the production for so long and witnessing the ongoing excitement of the audience; this was the next step and a way to “have fun with copyrights”.
“When you have copyrights that are charged with positive feelings and joy, it’s only your imagination that’s in the way of further developing those and taking them into other fields,” he said.
Ulvaeus’s ABBA brand currently includes ABBA The Museum – which receives 300,000 visitors per year – and the musical Mamma Mia!
, which has grossed US$2bn (€1.78bn, £1.31bn) worldwide and been seen by 60 million people since its premiere in 1999.
The Swedish sensation emphasised the importance of being protective of the ABBA IP, saying he believes the band’s legacy has been preserved by not letting anything “fall into the wrong hands”. Only once, in 1975, did they sell a song for a TV commercial, he said, which they would never do again.
He also said the ABBA museum is investing in a cutting-edge hologram to replace the current attraction, where visitors appear to dance on stage with holographic versions of band members Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
"That’s going to be enhanced so it’s absolutely life-like. You believe you’re standing beside them – it’s like an amusement park attraction. It will be the most fantastic hologram in the world," he said.