Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Spice Girls musical opens on London stage

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LONDON -- It's time to find out whether Girl Power is still going strong, with the première of Viva Forever, a new stage musical based on the songs of the Spice Girls.

Celebrities expected at the Tuesday première at London's Piccadilly Theatre include all five of the original Spice Girls, who helped put the fizz in 1990s "Cool Britannia" scene: Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown -- also known as Posh, Baby, Ginger, Sporty and Scary Spice, respectively.

The musical uses Spice Girls songs including Wannabe, Spice Up Your Life and the title track in a tale of four friends whose bond becomes strained when their band enters a TV talent show.

It's a pop confection with heavyweight credentials. The show was written by comedian Jennifer Saunders, co-creator of celebrity-skewering sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.

The producer is Judy Craymer, who produced stage and screen versions of the hugely successful ABBA musical Mamma Mia!

The Spice Girls shot to fame in 1996 and sold 75 million records around the world. Halliwell left the group acrimoniously in 1998 and the group effectively split a decade ago.

The five members appeared on stage together for the first time in five years at the London Olympics closing ceremony in August and have reunited to promote Viva Forever.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 12, 2012 ??65534

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