Spice Girls reunite to launch musical Viva Forever!

Natalie Woolman

All five Spice Girls attended today’s launch of Viva Forever!, the new musical based on the band’s back catalogue.

The show, which is set around a TV talent show, will open at the Piccadilly Theatre in London on December 11. As previously announced, Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer is leading a creative team including Jennifer Saunders, who has written the book for the musical. The production is to be directed by Paul Garrington, who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as staging international productions of Mamma Mia!.

Viva Forever! began when the Spice Girls and their manager, Simon Fuller, approached Craymer to create a show using the group’s music. Saunders went directly to Craymer after hearing the show was in the pipeline and asked to write it.

Speaking to The Stage, Craymer said: “I slightly recoil from [the term] ‘jukebox’ [musical]. I know that is a label we have to live with but I felt Mamma Mia! was an original story using ABBA songs.

“What inspired me to get involved was what the Spice Girls meant – what their songs were about was the genesis of starting to create a story and Jennifer writing it.”

Saunders said she found there was a “strong narrative line” through the Spice Girls songs and their themes. Speaking about the hype surrounding the show, Saunders said: “It’s the Spice Girls and we don’t want it to be a flop, but I feel confident that we are doing something that people will like and that is all you can do really.”

Craymer and Saunders said the target audience for the show was “everybody” while Saunders added it had “universal themes” and would also contain a lot of humour.

The Spice Girls met through an advertisement in The Stage, which was posted in the newspaper by Heart Management in February 1994. The advert asked for 18 to 23-year-olds who were “streetwise, outgoing, ambitious and dedicated” and who could also sing and dance.

Viva Forever! is produced by Craymer in association with the Spice Girls, Simon Fuller and Universal Music.

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