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'Mamma Mia!' creator to bring Spice Girls musical to London stage

June 26, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • British pop girl group the Spice Girls perform on stage during their World Tour in 2007.
British pop girl group the Spice Girls perform on stage during their World… (Kim Stallknecht / EPA )

Proving that some musical phenomena can stay dormant for only so long, the Spice Girls are set to make a comeback of sorts with a new musical that's set to open on London's West End on Dec. 11.

But before you imagine the lattice-work plot of the 1997 film "Spice World" being reworked for onstage audiences, Judy Craymer (creator of "Mamma Mia!") reportedly has something different in mind for the similarly exclamatory "Viva Forever!," which will prominently feature the sounds of Sporty, Ginger, Posh, Baby, Scary, Bashful, Sneezy -- wait, how many were there again?

More seriously, writer Jennifer Saunders (of "Absolutely Fabulous" fame) signed on to work with Craymer on the project and envisions the Spice Girls music framing an "American Idol"-styled singing contest led by Viva, a young woman with a chaotic home life who looks to resolve feelings about her adoption through belief in herself, female friendship and, well, "girl power."

If the project sounds a bit like something worth mocking, Saunders will probably beat you to it, having made fun of the band with a tribute act called the Sugar Lumps during a benefit show. But she has fond feelings for the music.

“My daughters, who are now in their 20s, were such fans of the Spice Girls," Saunders told the London Telegraph. "And I just didn’t want someone to mess it up, because I had a sense of how it should be, and I thought I’d hate to go to it and it not be what I wanted.”

Though the Spice Girls reportedly pitched Craymer on the project and elements of their story were used for "Viva Forever!," the producer is careful to clarify that this isn't a tribute show.

"It isn’t just an excuse to put the Spice Girls’ songs on stage," she said. "It’s a beautiful story, properly told. Whether you like the Spice Girls or not you will love these songs within a musical.”

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