Let’s ‘Mamma Mia! Again’
Posted on 5 January, 2017 by Team Wishberry
The eighth longest running show in West End as well as Broadway history, Mamma Mia! The Musical, was the brainchild of producer Judy Craymer and written by British playwright Catherine Johnson. It premiered in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6th April 1999. Seventeen years from its opening, the musical has been viewed by 60 million people and has grossed $2 billion worldwide. It also got adapted into a film by the same name in 2008, which gained immense popularity globally. End of last year, on December 8th, 9th and 10th, the theatre patrons in Delhi got lucky with a refreshing take on this legendary musical at the Shri Ram Centre of Performing Arts, thanks to veteran thespian Ritu. R Chandra.
Story fitting the Social Objective
Mamma Mia! Again was a social initiative in collaboration with the Azad Foundation and Sakha Consulting Wings for their Women on Wheels drive, wherein underprivileged women are empowered with the employment opportunity as professional drivers. The funds raised through this musical will be used to provide hundreds of women living in slums, a chance to escape poverty and lead a self-sustaining life. Ritu found the story of Mamma Mia! fitting this social objective perfectly. She states, “We want women to be strong, independent and live with dignity at their own terms, and in this musical there are four very strong women who showcase these characteristics. They make some wrong choices and some right. But, that’s ok! Everybody learns and it is ok to make a wrong choice.”
Ritu’s love for Musicals
Ritu. R Chandra
During her 18 year long journey in theatre, Ritu has always been a fan of musicals to communicate a strong social message. Her last attempt at achieving this feat for the Blind Relief Association with ‘Khushi Ek Ehsaas’ was a magnanimous success. This musical featured 50 visually impaired children on stage, creating a heartwarming experience for the viewers. Ritu sees tremendous potential for musicals in India. “The potential is immense. There are no good level musicals that happen here (India). I like to do musicals because music is a direct connect with the audience. And I always like to use music, dance and drama and not just drama”, explains Ritu. Mamma Mia! Again succeeded in creating the expected magic, with all four shows sold out.
Crowdfunding take away
Ritu and her team took to crowdfunding on Wishberry, raising INR 5 lakhs to meet the cost of production. The outreach to the funders by the team was aggressive, with emails, messages and calls going out on a regular basis, requesting for funds. Ritu’s friends stepped up to the occasion, pitching in with INR 2 lakhs out of the target amount. Similarly, Azad foundation and Sakha reached out to their circuit, raising major chunk of the money. Ritu wasn’t sure about the amount coming-in from anonymous funders, but assumes that it would have been very minimal. She believes that a strong personal network is crucial for a successful crowdfunding campaign. “Till you don’t have connectivity with your friends and you can reach out to them and get them to buy into what you are doing, I don’t think it (crowdfunding) is that 100% workable”, says Ritu.