Music is key to the continuing success of MAMMA MIA, says Carlton Edwards

Interview, Carlton Edwards, musical director for The MAMMA MIA

carlton Carlton Edwards and Jess Michelmore who plays Sophie Sheridan | Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Ahead of the premier of world famous, MAMMA MIA!, THE WEEK speaks to Carlton Edwards, associate musical Supervisor & musical director on the show's opening in Mumbai's NMACC, their expectations from it and how the show has evolved over the years.

You are coming down to India for the first time. What are your expectations?

I am beyond excited to come to India for my first time. It is somewhere I have wanted to visit forever. It will be hot and the food will be heaven.

MAMMA MIA! is a cult. How do you make sure the content remains endearing and captivating to audiences that keep changing organically, generation after generation?

The music is key to the continuing success of MAMMA MIA!. Every generation gets to know ABBA and loves the songs. As far as the show is concerned, we rehearse a lot and make sure the singing, dancing and storytelling is always in great shape, as it was when it was first invented 25 years ago!

Are there any changes this time, in terms of the cast, performance, and choreography?

The cast change every year. We have such a brilliant cast this year and really excited to present them to an Indian audience. Our season in Mumbai is at the end of this year’s contract and so the cast have spent the whole year perfecting the show ready for India. However, the music never changes, ABBA is law. The songs are woven through the story so cleverly. They are part of the narrative.

What is the one thing you are expecting from Indian audience?

Warmth. Enjoyment. This is the first time that the show has been presented in India and I am sure the Indian people will have the time of their lives. What I don’t know is whether Indian audiences are lively and vocal or attentive and polite. I look forward to finding out!

What will be the biggest highlight this time?

Taking our show to a new country for the first time. Enjoying the reactions of a whole new audience and bathing in the unique culture of India and eating amazing food.

Apparently, MAMMA MIA! 3 is in the works. Do you think it will propel the love for MAMMA MIA! further?

For us, mainly I think it keeps the brand alive. Following Sophie’s story after the original show (and first movie) is a great way of keeping a global interest in the Sheridan family. I can’t wait to see what the third movie reveals to us.

How differently do you package the show for the Indian audience versus the western audience?

I don’t think we have to change anything; this story has proved popular globally.

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