Viva Forever the Musical Press Launch
The eagerly anticipated Spice Girls Musical ‘Viva Forever’ launched this afternoon at the St Pancras Hotel to an excited crowd of people ready to book tickets for one of the most popular shows of the year. The musical will open at the Piccadilly Theatre on December 11, following previews from November 27th. The initial booking period runs until June 1 2013.
The event took place at the iconic London landmark that was he home to the band’s first hit single ‘Wannabe’. All 5 of the girls were in attendance, along with Producer Judy Craymer and book writer Jennifer Saunders. Craymer is best known for her work on the international hit sensation Mamma Mia! that has played in countries all over the world as well as spawning a successful movie adaptation.
Craymer spoke of the production and her interest in the project saying that the Spice Girls were her idols, and that she couldn’t think of a better source for a musical. She reported how excited all five of the girls were for the project, and was thankful of the work of Jennifer Saunders, whose ‘razor sharp wit’ and ‘intelligent insight’ has created the biggest family musical of the year. She spoke about how the show embraces all generations and deals with the anxieties of women, especially the relationship between mother and daughter.
Click the video below to see Judy Craymer talk about the production:
Comedian Jennifer Saunders, best known for her work on the hit BBC sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ has created an original story for the musical that brings together the biggest Spice Girls hits. Set in a contemporary world where fortunes change ‘on the click of an iPhone’, the show follows Viva and her mother (who live on a houseboat) the day after she has successfully auditioned for a TV reality talent show. When she is selected to go through without her friends, Viva must choose to progress without the support of her fellow performers. The show follows the relationship between Viva and her group of friends as well as the relationship between her and her mother. A particularly poignant moment of the show comes during a ‘mash up’ of hit songs ‘Goodbye My Friend’ and ‘Mamma’, which ties together all the essential plot elements. View Jennifer Saunders talking about the production in this video:
Saunders told the audience what attracted her to the project and spoke about why she has always felt she was an extra member of the fantastic 5. She talked about the universal appeal of the girl group, and why their motto of ‘Girl Power’ became so important in the 1990s. She reiterated the success of the girl group who sold over 75 million singles worldwide, with nine Number One singles in the UK charts. She was excited to say that the show was not a tribute musical, but instead a truly original show that channels the energy and the spirit of the biggest girl group of all time.
A video was then played which talked about the show and the process behind bringing it to stage. The workshops of the show starred West End legends Garry Milner and his wife Sally Ann Triplet who are currently starring in the West End production of Mamma Mia! Triplet played the role of Viva’s mother in the workshop, although it was not clear if she would be reprising this role for the West End opening. Joanna Monro who is also starring in Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales Theatre also featured in the workshop. For the full video, check out the link below:
Theatre director Paul Garrington is on board to direct the production, after working on the numerous workshops. He has worked extensively with the RSC as well as directing various international productions of Mamma Mia! for Julie Craymer. He is joined by Lynne Page who will provide the choreography for the show. Her credits include La Cage aux Folles at the Menier Chocolate Factory as well as music videos for stars such as Kanye West and Ellie Goulding. Completing the production team are Bobby Aitken as Sound Designer, Howard Harrison as Lighting, and stage designer Peter McKintosh, who has worked on the West End productions of Crazy For You, The 39 Steps and Death and the Maiden. The production team is headed up by Craymer in association with Simon Fuller and Universal Music.
Saunders invited the Spice Girls themselves up onto the stage to talk about the production and why it has interested them. This was a momentous occasion to see all five on one stage, although Victoria and Mel B were definite bookends of the group. The girls teased Gerri Halliwell over quitting the band, which ultimately led to their untimely demise. Mel C spoke about how much she loves each of the girls, and how they value and respect what each of them are currently pursuing. Mel B went so far as to say that “all my bitches are great”, reinforcing the girl power felt between the group. She also spoke of how excited they were at the workshops, saying it was ‘amazing’ to hear their songs performed by other people, even suggesting that ‘they sing better than we do!’.
No casting information was revealed for the show although this is expected in the coming weeks. Please check back to visit our Viva Forever page to buy tickets for the production that opens at the Piccadilly Theatre officially from 11 December 2012.