Mamma Mia

Musicals are back: "Dreamgirls," "Moulin Rouge!" "Enchanted," "La Vie En Rose," "Sweeney Todd," "Once," "East Bank Story," "The Producers" and "Prairie Home Companion." And that's just looking at the ones I've reviewed!

"Mamma Mia!" is an ABBA songbook musical with a typically flimsy story, gorgeous scenery, lovely people, exuberant dancing, plus oodles of bawdy humor and romance...hmmm...sounds just like a musical, doesn't it? When I first saw this show on stage, I was shocked at how many ABBA songs I recognized, even though I had never been a big fan.

The story centers around Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried ("Mean Girls" and "Alpha Dog") -- raised by her single mother, portrayed by Meryl Streep ("The Devil Wears Prada" and "Prime") -- who has never been told the name of her father. They have lived on a Greek isle all of her life and she wants a father to give her away in her pending marriage to Sky, played by Domenic Cooper ("History Boys" and "Starter for 10"). Rummaging through her mother's closet, she discovers a diary that covered the interval nine months before she was born. She realizes that any one of three different fellows could conceivably (sorry...smile...) be her father, so she tracks them down and invites ALL three. She is positive that as soon as she lays eyes on him, she will be able to tell which one is THE ONE.

Enter Colin Firth ("Pride and Prejudice" and "Love, Actually"), Pierce Brosnan ("Evelyn" and "Bond, James Bond") and Stellan SkarsgÄrd ("Good Will Hunting" and "Pirates of the Caribbean"). All are bewildered about being invited but are curious enough to show up. At the same time, Meryl's old buddies from her hippie days are there, too: Christine Baranski ("The Birdcage" and "Bowfinger"), better known for her work on Broadway; and Julie Walters ("Calendar Girls," "Becoming Jane" and "Billy Elliot"). These gals prove that older dames can kick up their heels, too!

All of the principal actors did their own singing and are listed on the soundtrack for the movie. That in itself is quite a feat, considering that many of them are better known for their dramatic chops rather than their pipes.

The audience was enthralled! The fellow next to me knew every single song and all the words! He didn't bother me as much as he impressed me! People didn't exit the theater during the credits because Streep, Baranski and Walters did two more songs, then the three guys threw in another treat, then the whole cast joined in again. It went on and on and folks left the place laughing and singing.

Do ya think I liked it?????