The English singer loves the thrill of recreating ABBA

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Alison Ward was not yet born when the pop supergroup ABBA topped the charts in the 70s, before breaking up for the first time in 1982.

Since 2010, she loves to sing in the ABBA tribute act MANIA (formerly ABBA MANIA), which will try its luck on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Adler Theater in Davenport, as part of its six-week national tour, MANIA formed in 1999 and the show has sold out theaters and concert halls internationally ever since.

ABBA was a pop supergroup formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The name of the group is an acronym of the first letters of their first names arranged in a palindrome. Ward portrays Agnetha.

Ward as ABBA’s Agnetha, who sings the lead in the smash hit “Dancing Queen.”

The friendly 35-year-old is from Liverpool, England (hometown of the Beatles), and her nursery school was actually on Penny Lane.

“My family still lives down the street from where Paul McCartney grew up, so we’re a Beatles family,” Ward said Monday.

There are several ABBA tribute acts, and MANIA is billed as the best in the UK, faithfully recreating the look and sound of the super troupers. The company started in 1999 in the West End of London and tours with two actors at the same time.

“I was lucky enough to be one of the first to tour the United States,” Ward said, starting with UK tours in 2010.

Ward is a 35-year-old Liverpool native.

Over the years, people come in and out of casts, she said. The current lineup has been solid for two years. Benny plays the piano and Bjorn plays the guitar.

Ward graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in mathematics, but she pursued her passion for singing.

“I was a bit of a smart girl in school and my parents said, as long as you graduate and get through it, we can let you do whatever you want,” she said, noting that his mother worked as a singer. “We have a bit of a musical family.”

“My mum was quite well known in her time at Liverpool as a singer,” Ward said. “I follow in my mother’s footsteps. »

ABBA has become a favorite on her playlist. She said she was lucky to get the job in 2010 and one of her first tours was in France.

“I’ve had some amazing tours; I went to Brazil with the show,” Ward said. “I made an island off Tahiti. The show was based in Melbourne (Australia) for a few months. For an ABBA tribute, we certainly traveled the world a lot.

She was asked to do her own solo in Vegas, “All By Myself”, which she does on cruise ships around the world. Currently, Ward performs diva hits mostly from the 60s to the 90s.

blonde and swedish

In MANIA, she dons a blonde wig like Agnetha, a Swedish accent, and keeps the show as authentic as possible.

“We’re recreating one of their ’70s gigs,” Ward said. “We have the costumes; we were given permission to have the same ‘Waterloo’ suits they wore. And they’re not great movers – they do minimal moving. They’re not great dancers, so we keep all the choreography to make it look like they would perform the way they did.

A scene from the tribute show.

“We do our best to honor the real ABBA,” she said.

The no-move rule usually goes out the window for the band’s biggest hit, “Dancing Queen,” which closes the show, Ward said. “Between us and the public, everyone shouts and sings. The disco ball goes down and the closest of the day is “Dancing Queen”.

Everyone goes wild over this party song, and it’s a great way to end the concert, she said. “I love it every time.”

Ward also enjoys singing ‘The Winner Takes It All’, the duet of ‘Fernando’ and ‘Chiquitita’ is also a favorite.

A scene from ABBA’s tribute.

ABBA’s timeless songs were written to be enjoyed live and MANIA gives you exactly that, according to a tour release. “Two hours of uplifting, danceable and sometimes heartbreaking songs, completely live with fantastic direction, lighting and effects. The show recreates the sound of ABBA not only perfectly, but also respectfully.

Other hits include ‘Waterloo’, ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Super Trouper’, ‘Take A Chance On Me’ and many more which continue to fill dance floors around the world.

Parish treasures once again sing live to large crowds. “We’re sort of getting back to normal,” she said. “It’s nice to get back to what it was.”

One of their biggest fans came to see the show in the first week of the tour, and she was carrying a Swedish flag, Ward said, noting that she knew that fan would be back at the Adler on Thursday.

“We have the best fans,” she said. Some fans come to eight or nine shows on a tour, always sitting front row, Ward said. “It’s because we all love ABBA and music. It’s a great evening, just over two hours. There are a lot of happy people there and on stage.

In September, she attended a “virtual” live concert by the real ABBA, as part of her “Voyage” residency (and new album). The concerts feature virtual avatars (nicknamed “ABBAtars”), representing the band as it appeared in 1977, along with a live band. Concerts take place at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

“They’re definitely not touring themselves anymore, but they did release this hologram gig, which is very cool,” Ward said.

Tickets for the November 10 QC show are $25-$65, available online here at Ticketmaster.com and in person at the Adler Box Office (136 E. 3rd St., Davenport. For more on the concert, click HERE. And you can see a trailer HERE.

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