„Dancing Queen is a gay anthem“
"... and we are all four very happy about it"
Björn Ulvaeus used to be one B of ABBA, the most successful Swedish pop-band ever. He is the executive producer of „MAMMA MIA – The Party“, which premiers on January, 20th, in Stockholm. MÄNNER spoke with him about the show, the gays‘ attraction to ABBA and if ABBA dares a comeback at the Eurovion Song Contest in Stockholm.
What exactly is happening at „Mamma Mia – The Party?“
Björn Ulveaus: When the guests come in through the doors, they all of a sudden are in Skopelos, an island in the Aegean Sea in Greece. This is the island where in „Mamma Mia – The Movie“ the exterior shots were filmed. So they are suddenly on Skopelos and they are in Nicos Taverna, there is a fountain, there is an old tree. And there is Nicos and his wife, his daughter and his friends and staff. They will take care of our guests and at the same time during the evening there will be a little story played out in real time. They will have fantastic food and wine. And the story is told in the same way as „Mamma Mia – The Musical“ is: Through spoken dialogue and through song lyrics in ABBA songs. Not exactly the songs that are in Mamma Mia, but other songs from ABBA. So they will have a party in a kind of Mamma Mia world: In a festive, happy mood.
Could you imagine to tour with the Party as the Musical did?
No, it needs a particular place. As you can see, this is nothing you can tour with. It needs a particular restaurant, but I can see that if it does work here in Stockholm, there is really no reason why it would not work in other places as indeed the Musical has. But it is just a matter of finding the right venue. The first step is to see how it works here in Stockholm – and then the world.
Are you afraid you could wake up one day and no one wants to listen to ABBA?
(Laughs). No, I cannot say I am afraid and that probably will not happen, not while I am alive at least. You know, that continues. Less and less people perhaps will listen to ABBA, who knows, but you know, there is always someone somewhere around the world listening at any particular moment.
However, there has almost never been a gay party without at least one ABBA song. Why do you think gays are so attracted by your songs?
That is an interesting question. We are all four very happy about „Dancing Queen“ being in some kind a theme, you know, at gay parties. I guess it has got to do with maybe the outfits, maybe the whole thing about ABBA with not taking ourselves too seriously and being happy doing what we are doing and … I do not know. It is very difficult to say. What would you say, why is it? What is your answer?
Well, maybe because the songs are everlasting good. And yes, the outfits, the glitter…
Is it that easy? (laughs).
In MÄNNER’s March issue, there will be the full interview with Björn in German. He is going to reveal if gays loved ABBA from the beginning, if he has a favourite for the Eurovision Song Contest yet and if this venue will be a perfect comeback for ABBA.
Image: Mats Bäcker for MAMMA MIA