It started last summer with the ’70s music revue “More Than a Feeling” at The Players Theatre. A 10-minute segment of the production featured an ABBA medley — the show’s highlight. That’s when Jeffrey Kin, artistic director, and Berry Ayers, production manager and director of music, began crafting the idea of an all-ABBA experience.
“Knowing Me, Knowing You: the Hits of ABBA,” which runs July 10 through July 20, at The Players, is a traditional revue of ABBA songs. It features not only the biggest hits of the most famous Swedish band in the world but revisits some of the classics and lesser-known numbers, too.
It’s without a plot and presented in the fashion of a pop-up video. Before, after and during numbers, audience members will learn facts and information that will be displayed on screens above the stage and as the backdrop to the performance. Video footage will be interspersed throughout the more than 20 featured songs.
The two creators sat down to give a little insight on the production.
Describe it in three words.
Berry Ayers: Vibrant, energetic, innovative.
Jeffrey Kin: Smart, enthusiastic, celebratory.
Ayers: The library of music was so extensive and (there was) so much to choose from. I know, for instance, I really grew up listening to them. I remember my mom would always turn on the eight-track of ABBA and clean the house. Generations young and older are familiar with the music. ABBA had a ton of No. 1 hits all across the world.
Kin: So many of my favorite movie moments are underscored by ABBA songs —“Muriel’s Wedding” is the standout image in my head. The music motivates the story, and the images have stayed with me all this time.
What are some of the hit songs featured and what’s one of the lesser-known?
Ayers: “Chiquitita,” “Winner Takes it All,” “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Super Trouper” and “SOS” are some of the big hits. “Thank You for the Music” became a hit for them and was initially written for a musical, “The Girl with Golden Hair,” and is included in this revue.
Describe your favorite number:
Kin: I have about 12 favorite ABBA songs — all for different reasons.
Ayers: I had to create an overture for the show because we wanted something to set the mood for the audience. Because this was a revue of recorded music, I had some issues looking for a piece of music that would work to set up the whole show. I ended up splicing together several pieces of different songs of ABBA as well as other musical pieces. I’m really excited about how that piece will play out — it’s really cool.
What’s something new you learned?
Ayers: A lot! I have been researching the group for the past six months. The main thing I learned was that their manager not only managed them, but also co-wrote a lot of the songs.
Kin: There were four members of the band, but they would multi-track their songs and sing layers upon layers of background vocals having 16 parts going at the same time. When they performed live, they’d have extra voices that would sing the additional parts.
Why should people come see it?
Ayers: The audience is going to get great music, amazing vocals, and with the idea of informational and fun pop-up facts, they can actually learn something, too. It is going to be a blast, no doubt about it.
Kin: Because they’ll reminisce about past times and discover songs they’ve never heard before.
IF YOU GO
‘Knowing Me, Knowing You: the Hits of ABBA’
When: Runs July 10 to July 20
Where: The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail
Info: Call 365-2494