Photo Flash: MAMMA MIA! Fans in Wales Rally for ABBA-Inspired Town Name Changes
A pressure group is gaining ground in its bid to change the names of towns and villages in Wales as a special tribute to the smash hit musical MAMMA MIA!.
The group is campaigning to replace the word "Aber" with ABBA in over 60 of the towns and villages that begin with the Celtic prefix.
The group Called ANA (which stands for ‘ABBA Not Aber') hopes that the change will take place before MAMMA MIA! opens at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff later this year for 10 weeks from November 16, 2010 through January 23, 2011. The smash hit musical has already broken previous box office records at the Cardiff Bay venue, with tickets selling out faster than for any other show in the theater's history.
ANA members have already been out on the streets campaigning. In the village of Abertridwr near Caerphilly, the group has already changed the road sign to Abbatridwr and replaced Aberdare with Abbadare in the county of Rhondda Cynon Taf. In North Wales, visitors to its famous coastal resorts can visit the newly-named Abbagele near Rhyl and Abbadaron on the Lleyn peninsula.
ANA supporters attending one of Wales's most respected Universities will now go to lectures at Abbarystwyth. The popular market town of Abbagavenny is also set to change its historic name. Welsh-language ANA supporters in Swansea are keen for the city be known by its Welsh name, Abbatawe.
Mary Jones, a member of ANA who lives in Abbatridwr said: "Wales is full of places that begin with Aber and is renowned across the world for being a land of song. It is entirely fitting that we replace the prefix Aber with ABBA to show our appreciation of the wonderful music that is the basis of the MAMMA MIA! musical."
A spokesperson from Wales Millennium Centre said: "Tickets for MAMMA MIA! have sold quicker than any other show that we've had here. MAMMA MIA! mania has certainly hit Wales."
Seen by over 40 million people around the world, MAMMA MIA!, is celebrating over 3,400 performances in its eighth smash hit year at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre and remains one of Broadway's top selling musicals. The originAl West End production of MAMMA MIA! is celebrating 10 years and over 4,000 performances in London, an international tour has visited more than 40 foreign cities, and the blockbuster feature film adaptation is the most successful movie musical of all time grossing over $600 million worldwide.
With a worldwide gross of over $2 Billion, MAMMA MIA! is acclaimed by the Associated Press as "quite simply, a phenomenon."
For tickets, schedule and information about MAMMA MIA! around the world: www.mamma-mia.com