This was the first" musical" based on B&B music. In 1983 French producer and songwriter Alain Boubil put together this
project which originally broadcast on the French TV channel TF1 over Christmas, 1983.
The musical was also recorded
as an album for the French market.
(Alain was well known to ABBA and Stig Anderson, he had wrote the French language lyrics
to ABBA's sole French language track, "Waterloo". Alain would also have worldwide success with the musicals
Miss Saigon and Les Miserables ).
The idea here was to borrow the melodies from ABBA songs and write new lyrics so as be able to tell a story and also so
as to be able to do it in French. (this was a French/Belgian coproduction). B&B were not directly involved with the French
version, although they did allow their music to be used, which is a bit surprising, though perhaps they thought that the ABBAcadabra
project was an interesting experiment.
The story that was made up was inspired by children's fairy tales. Somehow, the producers were able to get Frida
(from ABBA) involved to play Sleeping Beauty. Frida sang a duet in the show a duet called "Belle" which was
a new version "Arrival".
"Belle" was released as single in France and became a hit there. Frida's duet partner was the great late French singer,
Daniel Balavoine. Daniel would work on Frida's SHINE album and would remain a friend of Frida's till his unexpected death
in a plane crash in 1986.
Late the same year, a English version of ABBAcadabra was staged on the West End. In December of 1983 ,it premiered at London's
Lyric Theater. It ran for a eight weeks as a limited Christmas season show.
This was an English language version of the French show, This show was produced by Cameron Macintosh. This British version
however, did not result in another record album; however,two studio recorded singles were released. These singles actually
had some involvement from Bjorn and Benny.
One of the singles included Frida's duet with B.A. Robertson on "Time" ,The B-side of that single featured B.A Robertson
doing "(I Am) the Seeker" which was a B&B song that ABBA considered in 1982 but never recorded, The other single featured
Elaine Paige doing a rewritten version of "My Love, My Life called "Like an Image Passing Me By" . Oddly, the new lyrics for
this one were cowritten by Björn. The singles were also released by Polar in Sweden.
Later also a Portuguese, and Dutch version of ABBAcadabra were staged. For some reason there was also released a sequel
album in France with more ABBA songs rewritten with new lyrics.
None of the versions of ABBAcadabra are widely known , partly because interest in ABBA was low at the time.they came out,
and at the time they were was not really grand expectations for the show...
Apparently, B&B never saw the play-which seems bizarre considering how many times they have sat through stagings of
Mamma Mia or Kristina.
The ABBAcadabra experiment did seem to prove that it was ultimately counter productive to alter ABBA's lyrics too much
for a stage production that would feature ABBA songs. The lyrics (even the weak ones) were a integral part
of the appeal of the songs that ABBA sang.
.. The license to produce ABBAcadabra was apparently for a limited time and so this musical has not revived since the 1980's.
Nor it it likely to be brought back with Mamma Mia taking over the ABBA theatrical musical market. Currently
none of the albums released from this are in print..
FRENCH LP& CD track listing Lyrics by Alain & Daniel Boublil
Track listing side A
. QU'EST-CE QUE J'VAIS FAIRE PLUS TARD (When I Kissed The Teacher)
ABBACADABRA (Take A Chance On Me)
MON NEZ MON NEZ (Money, Money, Money)
.TÊTE D'ALLUMETTE (Super Trouper)
IMAGINE-MOI [I Wonder (Departure)]
Track listing side A
CARABOSSE SUPER SHOW (Dancing Queen)
PAREILS ET MÊMES
(I Let The Music Speak)
L'ENFANT DO (Fernando)
\LACHEZ MES CASSETTES (I`m A Marionette)
BELLE BELLE (Arrival)
ENVOYEZ LE GÉNÉRIQUE (Thank You For The Music)
bonus tracks on 1994 CD version...
13. GARE AU LOUP (Waterloo)
14. LA PLANÉTE AMOUR (Lay all your love on me)