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Lauper teams with ABBA’s firm

Cyndi Lauper arrives at the 74th annual Tony Awards in New York on Sept. 26, 2021, left, and Bjorn Ulvaeus appears at the premiere of “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” in London on July 16, 2018. PHOTO: AP

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Legendary pop icon Cyndi Lauper, who rose to fame in the 1980s with hits such as “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” has entered a partnership with the Swedish masterminds behind the immersive virtual concert ABBA Voyage.

The partnership announced Thursday by the Pophouse Entertainment Group co-founded by ABBA singer Björn Ulvaeus, involves the acquisition of a majority share of the award-winning singer-songwriter’s music. The aim is to develop new ways to bring Lauper’s music to fans and younger audiences through new performances and live experiences.

Lauper said she agreed to the sale, for an undisclosed amount, when it became apparent the Swedish company wasn’t just in it for the money. “Most suits, when you tell them an idea, their eyes glaze over, they just want your greatest hits,” Lauper told The Associated Press at the Pophouse headquarters in Stockholm earlier this month. “But these guys are a multimedia company, they’re not looking to just buy my catalogue, they want to make something new.”

Four decades after her breakthrough solo album, the 70-year-old Queens native is still brimming with ideas and the energy to bring them to stage.

Lauper said she’s not aiming to replicate the glittery supernova brought to stage in ABBA Voyage where stupefying technology offers digital avatars of the ABBA band members as they looked in their 1970s heyday, but rather an “immersive theatre piece” that transports audiences to the New York she grew up in.

“It’s about where I came from and the three women that were very influential in my life, my mom, my grandmother and my aunt,” she said.

Lauper has long advocated for women’s rights and gender equality, and her 1983 hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” reinvented by other female artists through the years, has become a feminist anthem. Lauper seems humbled by this responsibility.

It was during the large Women’s March in 2017 following the inauguration of Donald Trump where she saw protesters with signs reading “Girls just want to have fun(damental rights)”that gave her the impetus to raise money for women’s health. So far, she has raised more than USD150,000 to help small organisations that provide safe and legal abortions.

“I grew up with three women. I saw the disenfranchisement very clearly. And I saw the struggles, I saw the joy, I saw the love,” she said. “And it made me come out with boxing gloves on.”

Lauper hopes the new show can bring the memories of those women back to life a little, along with “the reasons I sang certain songs, and the things that I wrote about.”

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