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(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tickets went on sale on Tuesday for what is likely to be the biggest entertainment production of the year and perhaps the largest international music event Israel has ever seen.
The international production of the smash hit musical MAMMA MIA, which is based on the songs of the popular Eighties band Abba, will light up Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena for 15 performances starting June 12.
International production agent Mark Lieberberg, who is bringing the musical here in corporation with mobile phone company Orange and local producers Shmuel Zemach and Uri Ofer, told The Jerusalem Post that he had made a huge financial investment in the production, which is currently playing to sold out audiences in Manchester, England and has performed in locations all over the world.
Lieberberg, who himself is Jewish and has relatives living in Israel, said he had even hired a Boeing 747 to bring over the cast members, understudies and technical staff, as well as 100 tons of theatrical and lighting equipment directly from Helsinki.
"It is exactly the same show that is performed in London and on Broadway," said Lieberberg, who has facilitated performances by Sting, Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith in the past. "It is the first time that a genuine first-class production will come to Israel and I believe that we will sell out."
Lieberberg added that because of the size of the production, which will include large screens to provide simultaneous translations to Hebrew, the Nokia arena is the only location suitable for the show.
The arena is set to be transformed into a theater hall, he said.
As for the possibility that Israel's volatile political situation could cause the production to be cancelled, as has happened with several large scale productions over the past few years, Lieberberg said he was "optimistic and upbeat" that it would not happen with MAMMA MIA.
"I have no indication that anything will happen to prevent us from coming and I have taken every precaution to ensure that it does not," he said.
More than 30 million people worldwide have seen MAMMA MIA since it premiered in London's West End in 1999. Written by Catherine Johnson and Judy Craymer, MAMMA MIA is tied together by 22 of ABBA's most famous songs and spins a comical tale of love, family, friendship and fatherhood. Currently, there are 11 productions of the show playing around the globe, as well as the original London one, which is still going strong.
The Israel show will play eight times a week, starting June 12, Mon. - Sat. (not including Fri.) at 8:30 pm, Fri. at 1:30 pm, Wed. and Sat. at 4:30 p.m. Ticket's will cost NIS 250-475 and NIS 169-349 for Orange customers.