ITV’s Mamma Mia! I Have a Dream judges confirmed

ITV has confirmed the star line-up for its forthcoming West End TV talent show, Mamma Mia! I Have a Dream.

Samantha Barks, Amber Riley, Alan Carr, Jessie Ware to judge.

The talent show sees wannabe West End stars compete to win a role as Sophie or Sky in the West End’s long-running production of ABBA musical Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre in London.

As previously rumoured, the host of the show will be radio and TV presenter Zoe Ball.

Joining Zoe as the judges will be West End star and current lead in Frozen The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Samantha Barks; Olivier Award-winning TV and stage star Amber Riley (Glee, The Wiz, Dreamgirls); comedian Alan Carr; and singer songwriter Jessie Ware.

On hand to mentor the contestants and offer her expertise to the judges will be Mamma Mia!’s creator and global producer Judy Craymer.

The TV show is produced by Fremantle’s Thames, and Littlestar, and will launch on ITV1 and ITVX later in 2023.

The show will actually be set on an idyllic Greek island, which is the setting of the stage musical – and the blockbuster movies starring Meryl Streep.

The contestants will be judged and mentored by guest industry stars through unique musical theatre workshops in singing, dancing and acting, and perform for the judges, as they vie for the coveted lead roles of Sophie and Sky in the show.

The competition will culminate in a live grand-finale, broadcast from a theatre in London’s West End, where two winners will win the roles of Sophie and Sky in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre, as it celebrates its 25th year – the show turns 25 on 6 April 2024.

This ITV show was originally announced back in December 2022, and will be similar to previous TV shows that set out to find new West End stars. That includes Any Dream Will Do!, which searched for a star of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolr Dreamcoat, How do you Solve a Problem like Maria?, looking for the lead to play Maria in The Sound of Music, I’d Do Anything, searching for a Nancy to star in Oliver! and Over the Rainbow, casting Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The West End production of Mamma Mia! currently stars Mazz Murray as Donna, with Meg Hateley as Sophie, and Miles Henderson as Sky.

Samantha Barks, who was also a runner up in BBC TV series I’d Do Anything, said: “For sure they are going to go on a really hard journey, it’s going to be so much fun, but it’s going to be like the movie! We’re going to be in Greece, the sun will be shining and I cannot wait for you guys to watch it. I just feel so honoured to get to be on the judging panel because I know what they’re going through, I’ve been there before and I can’t wait to guide them and challenge them, and be there for them.”

Glee actress and West End star, Amber Riley said: “I’m really excited to be a part of such an incredible project. Musical theatre has played such an integral role in my growth as a performer. I am all too happy to share what I’ve learned and to cheer on the world’s next biggest stars! Mamma Mia, here we go!”

Judy Craymer said: “I know there is a wealth of talent out there and I’m so thrilled that – with the help of these fabulous judges and ‘Rock Chick Supremo’ host Zoe Ball – we will find the musical stars of the future to appear in Mamma Mia!’s MIA!’s landmark 25th year. The judges complement one another so well. Alan has a unique comedic insight, Jessie a wealth of music industry experience and Samantha and Amber are the ultimate stage musical powerhouses who know exactly what it takes to get on stage eight times a week in a smash hit musical in London’s West End.”

Host Zoe Ball said: “Our contestants are going to go through quite the journey, believe me, but like the show and like the movie, there is going to be song, there is going to be dance and there’s going to be fun in the sun. And we cannot wait for you to come on that journey with us.”

Comedian Alan Carr said: “Getting to judge on one of my favourite musicals in one of my favourite locations ever is literally my dream job. A whole lot of feta and a whole lot of ABBA – perfection!”

Award winning singer songwriter, Jessie Ware said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be a judge […] I love Greece, if you know me you know how much I love Greece. I got married there, I sung a Mamma Mia invite to everybody when they came. So for me, to be spending the summer in Greece, finding the new breakout stars and hopefully helping shed some light on the industry and help them find their way, I just can’t wait. It’s going to be a summer to remember.”

Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning at ITV said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Mamma Mia! for this exciting TV event to search for the theatre stars of the future. To have Zoe Ball at the helm expertly guiding our young stars, as well as our expert panel of judges it’s going to be an exciting sequel to an already successful global franchise.”

Book tickets to Mamma Mia! live on stage at the Novello Theatre in Londn

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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