ABBAcadabra
Abbacadabra1983.jpg
Album cover for the 1983 French soundtrack album
MusicBenny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
LyricsBenny Andersson
Björn Ulvaeus
BookAlain Boublil
Daniel Boublil
Productions1983 France
1983 London
1984 Portugal
1985 Netherlands

ABBAcadabra is a French children's musical based on songs from the pop group ABBA. It was originally produced for French television in 1983 by Alain and Daniel Boublil, but which was later also transferred to an English stage version and two other television programs. The story was not always the same as the selection of the chosen songs varied by productions.

Productions

Original French production

The French television production consisted of 12 ABBA songs with new French lyrics by Alain & Daniel Boublil, and the story was based on classic fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Snow White and others. The cast was made up of children and well known French singers like Fabienne Thibeault, Daniel Balavoine, Plastic Bertrand, Maurice Barrier, Daniel Boublil (as 'Daniel Beaufixe'), Francoise Pourcel (as Marie Framboise), Catherine Ferry, Stéphane Le Navelan, Stéphane Boublil (son of Alain), Clémentine Autain and Emmanuelle Pailly. Anni-Frid Lyngstad, also known as "Frida", from ABBA was invited to play the part of "Belle au bois dormant" (Sleeping Beauty), and recorded the song "Belle" (a cover of ABBA's 1976 instrumental track "Arrival") as a duet with Daniel Balavoine.

Abbacadabra was originally broadcast on the French TV channel TF1 over Christmas in 1983.

A soundtrack album, entitled ABBAcadabra: Conte musical, featuring songs and narration from the production, was produced in 1983 as well. According to liner notes on the album cover, arrangements and musical direction were provided by Raymond Donnez and production by Alain Boublil with assistance by Raymond Donnez, Daniel Boublil, and Françoise Pourcel. The album was released by WEA Filipacchi Music in France and WEA Music of Canada in Québec.[1]

The album spawned several single releases in France, including "Mon Nez Mon Nez"[2] by Plastic Bertrand, "L'Enfant Do" by Stéphane Boublil,[3] and the Frida and Daniel Balavoine duet "Belle," which also saw release outside France in a few European countries and Canada.[4]

French musical numbers

Original London production

Cameron Mackintosh decided to produce a live-action English stage version of the TV show with lyrics by David Wood, Mike Batt, and Don Black. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, who wrote the songs in ABBA, contributed with one new song, "(I Am) The Seeker."

The musical premiered 8 December 1983 at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre in London, to mixed reviews and full houses for 8 weeks, closing on 21 January 1984. Among the actors were Elaine Paige, Michael Praed, Nigel Harman, Finola Hughes, BA Robertson, and Jenna Russell. A couple of singles were released from the show in several European countries. These were produced and arranged by Mike Batt. One featured Elaine Paige's recording of "Like An Image Passing By," a cover of ABBA's My Love, My Life, with a B side of Finola Hughes singing "When Dreamers Close Their Eyes".[5] Another single (also released in Australia) paired Frida and B. A. Robertston singing "Time," an English version of "Belle"/"Arrival," with Robertson solo on the B-side singing "I Am The Seeker".[6]

English musical numbers

Other productions

Dutch production

A Dutch version of this musical was recorded at the end of 1984 with José Hoebee and Marga Scheide (of Dutch girl group Luv') and aired on TV in 1985.[7] Not all the songs were recorded, but the album released in Belgium on the Indisc label, featured the same songs as the French version. The album was recorded with Ron Brandsteder, Bonnie St. Claire, Benny Neyman, Marga Scheide, José Hoebee, Nico Haak, Willem Duijn, Bianca Folkers, & Nancy Dubbeldam.[8] The frame story is that an evil 'video fairy' wants to ban and imprison the figures of the Fairy Tale on a videotape.

Dutch musical numbers

Portugal production

A Portuguese version was also made for television, adapted into Portuguese by Nuno Gomes dos Santos, and an album released in 1984 on the Orfeu record label in Portugal.[9]

Portuguese songs
Portuguese cast

See also

Mamma Mia!, another musical based on the songs of ABBA

References

  1. ^ "ABBAcadabra Albums". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  2. ^ "Mon Nez Mon Nez single". Discogs.
    "Mon Nez Mon Nez single". 45cat. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  3. ^ "L'Enfant Do single". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "Belle single". 45cat.
    "Belle single". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  5. ^ "Like An Image Passing By single". 45cat. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  6. ^ "Time single". 45cat. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  7. ^ Abbacadabra, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1205461/
  8. ^ "ABBAcadabra Belgian Album". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  9. ^ "ABBAcadabra Portuguese Album". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.