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Abbacadabra is the name of a French children's musical based on songs from the pop group ABBA, 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.
French television version
The French TV production consisted of 14 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.
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.
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.
- Qu'est-ce que j'vais faire plus tard (What I’m gonna do later) / When I Kissed the Teacher
- Délivrés / The Visitors (Crackin' Up)
- Abbacadabra / Take a Chance on Me
- Mon nez mon nez (My nose my nose) / Money Money Money
- Tête d'allumette (Match head) / Super Trouper
- Imagine-moi (Imagine me) / I Wonder (Departure)
- Carabosse super show / Dancing Queen
- Pareils et mêmes (Same and same) / I Let the Music Speak
- L'enfant do (Children do) / Fernando
- Lâchez mes cassettes (Let go of my tapes) / I'm a Marionette
- Belle (Beautiful) / Arrival
- Envoyez le générique (Send the theme song) / Thank You for the Music
The album spawned several single releases in France, such as "Mon Nez Mon Nez" by Plastic Bertrand and "L'Enfant Do" by Stéphane Boublil, and possibly most notably, the Frida and Daniel Balavoine duet "Belle," which also saw release outside France in a few other European countries and even Canada.
The London spectacle
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, "The Seeker."
The musical premiered December 8, 1983 at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre in London, to mixed reviews and full houses for 8 weeks, closing on January 21, 1984. Among the actors were Elaine Paige, Michael Praed, Nigel Harman, Finola Hughes, B.A. Robertson, and Jenna Russell. A couple of singles were released from the show in several European countries. 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". 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".
- Another World (Take A Chance On Me)
- Battle of The Brooms (Money, Money, Money)
- I Am The Seeker (new song)
- I Can Pull Some Strings (The Piper)
- Going Going Gone (On and On and On)
- Making Magic (Super Trouper)
- When Dreamers Close Their Eyes (Like An Angel Passing Through My Room)
- Belonging (I Let The Music Speak)
- Back Home Now (Fernando)
- Carabosse Supershow (Dancing Queen)
- Think Of Something Fast (I'm A Marionette)
- Time (Arrival)
- Like An Image Passing By (My Love, My Life)
- Thank You For The Magic (Thank You For The Music)
The Dutch version
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. Not all the songs were recorded, but the LP, 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..
- "Als Ik Later Groot Ben" (When I grow up) (When I Kissed The Teacher)
- "Wij Zijn Vrij" (We are free) (The Visitors (Cracking Up))
- Abbacadabra (Take A Chance On Me)
- Me Neus, Me Neus (Me nose, me nose) (Money Money Money)
- Het Liedje Van Alladin (The song of Aladdin) (Super Trouper)
- Spiegel (Mirror) (I Wonder (Departure))
- De Kokende Spoken Show (Cooking ghosts show) (Dancing Queen)
- Toen Ik Een Wolfje Was (When I was a wolfie) (I Let The Music Speak)
- Naar Huis Toe (Homewards) (Fernando)
- Geef Die Banden Terug (Give back those tapes) (I'm A Marionette)
- Bij Mij (With me) (Arrival)
- Laat Het Feest Beginnen (Let the party begin!) (Thank You For The Music)
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.
- Que Mal Fizemos Nós (What wrong have we done) (When I Kissed The Teacher)
- O Sonho De Joao (The dream of John) (The Visitors)
- Abbacadabra (Take A Chance On Me)
- O Nariz De Pinóquio (The Pinocchio Nose) (Money Money Money)
- Aladin Fanfarrão (Aladdin's fanfare) (Super Trouper)
- Branca De Neve E O Espelho (Snow White And The Mirror) (I Wonder (Departure))
- Rainha Má Superstar (Evil Queen Superstar) (Dancing Queen)
- Cinderela E O Soldadinho (Cinderella And The Soldier) (I Let The Music Speak)
- Os Amigos (The friends) (Fernando)
- Larguem A Cassette (Drop The Cassette) (I'm A Marionette)
- Branca De Neve E O Principezinho (Snow White And The Little Prince) (Arrival)
- Não Basta Ralhar (Just not scold) (Thank You For The Music)
- Aladino : Fernando
- Alice : Suzy Paula
- Blanca de Neve : Maria João
- Cinderela: Helena Ramos
- Pinóquio : Nuno Gomes dos Santos
- Locutor : José Nuno Martins
- Principezinho : Antonio Manuel Ribeiro
- Raínha Má : Lenita Genti
- Soldadinho : Samuel
- Ana e Joana : As Gémeas
- João e Pedro : João e Pedro Cabeleira
- Rosas : Inês Martins, Teresa Marta e Isabel Campelo, Vanda e Ana Carvalho
- Cravos e Metralhas : Zé da Ponte, Luis de Freitas e Nuno Gomes dos Santos
- "ABBAcadabra Albums". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Mon Nez Mon Nez single". Discogs.
"Mon Nez Mon Nez single". 45cat. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "L'Enfant Do single". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Belle single". 45cat.
"Belle single". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Like An Image Passing By single". 45cat. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Time single". 45cat. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- Abbacadabra, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1205461/
- "ABBAcadabra Belgian Album". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "ABBAcadabra Portuguese Album". Discogs. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- (French) (defunct?) http://philippe.benabes.free.fr/abbacadabra/
- ABBA-The Albums "ABBAcadabra" page http://felpin80.tripod.com/ata/acadab.html
- (French) ABBA France&Belgique "ABBAcadabra" page http://abba.discographie.france.over-blog.com/tag/abbacadabra/