Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reunited... and it feels so good: Spice Girls are back together as they unveil details of new West End musical

•Viva Forever! The Musical set to open at the Piccadilly Theatre on December 11
•Will tell the story of a wannabe singer and her best friends trying to find fame through a reality show

By Emily Sheridan

It's been four years since they reunited for their Return Of The Spice Girls tour.

And following months of speculation whether or not they would join forces again, all five members of the Spice Girls got together in London today to announce details of a West End musical based on their songs.

Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown and Geri Halliwell went back to where it all began - the St Pancras Hotel in London, where they filmed their Wannabe video in 1996.

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Reunited! (L-R) Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham reunite for the Viva Forever! launch at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Just like the hotel, which has since been restored and is looking a lot better these days, few would disagree the girl group are also looking much improved from their '90s heyday.

The musical, entitled Viva Forever!, will tell the story of 'a beautiful, talented girl and her best friends who get swept up in the obsession of today's TV celebrity culture'.

The musical 'charts her journey into the world of overnight fame and its impact on her relationships with her mother and the friends she thought she'd have forever'.

Victoria, arguably the most successful financially since leaving the group, flew in specially from Los Angeles.

Excited: Geri certainly looked happy to be there, while Victoria was her usual straight-faced self

Not a tracksuit or platform trainer in sight: The five-piece are fortunately a lot more sophisticated these days

Looking more military than 'Posh', the mother-of-four, 38, wore a black dress and peep-toe knee-high boots.

However, while her former bandmates had wide smiles, Victoria kept her usual stony-faced demeanour.

Mel B, 37, who looked far from 'Scary' in a grey shift dress and spiked Christian Louboutin heels, had flown in from her new home in Australia via LA.

Geri, 39, and Emma, 36, were going for girlie looks in short dress and killer heels, with the ex-Ginger Spice appearing to be wearing the same Jimmy Choo strappy sandals worn by the Duchess of Cambridge recently, albeit in gold instead of silver.

Back to where it all began: The group famously filmed the video for their debut single Wannabe at the same hotel in 1996

On a budget: The Spice Girls in their Wannabe video when the hotel was out of use in 1996

Mel C, 38, appeared to have left her Sporty Spice persona firmly in the past with a floaty white maxi dress.

The five women had joined forces to announce details of Viva Forever, a musical based on their songs and written by comedienne Jennifer Saunders and producer by Judy Craymer, the theatrical impresario behind the success of Mamma Mia!

Speaking at the press conference, Craymer hailed the group: 'I loved what the Spice Girls did for women's confidence. There's something very empowering about them.'

Saunders, who cameoed in their film Spice World, said: 'The second I knew this project was up for grabs I rang my agent and said I had to be involved.'

All that hard work is going to pay off: Producer Judy Craymer and scriptwriter Jennifer Saunders

Viva Forever! is the latest 'jukebox musical' to hit the West End - that use original songs as a basis for an original storyline.

While Mamma Mia! (Abba), Thriller Live (Michael Jackson) and We Will Rock You (Queen), have been a huge success, other musicals such as Our House (Madness) have not been as popular.

In the run-up to today's announcement, all five Spice Girls have been hinting on their respective Twitter pages.

On Saturday, Victoria hinted: 'Big event next week, what should I wear??

'Excited to be travelling to London tomorrow!!! packing!!!!'

Well heeled: The girl group team up with Saunders and Craymer for a group photo

Very serious: Victoria looked miserable in comparison to smiling Emma and Geri

Mel B wrote this morning: 'Whoop whoop where my spice biatches at!!! Lovin ALL spice fans always!'

Over the past few years, Mel B has often hinted of a possible reunion for the girl group, but it is yet to come to fruition.

However, Victoria was said to be against the idea because she is focused on her career as a fashion designer.

In March, Mel C dismissed speculation they would reunite for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert: 'Not true. It was an honour to be asked (for the Jubilee concert), but not everyone is comfortable about doing it so we have to respect each other’s feelings about that.'

Chatterbox: Mel B distracted the group as they pose up a storm

Do you remember when we ran up these stairs in platform trainers? The women shared some jokes at the photocall

While not directly addressing the Spice Girls reunion speculation, Beckham said this year: 'I was never going to be the best singer and it wasn’t my passion.'

The group's reunion today comes four years after their sell-out Return Of The Spice Girls world tour, which ended prematurely after they cancelled the gigs in South America, South Africa and Asia.

During their four years in the charts, they enjoyed nine No.1 singles and two No.1 albums in the UK, including one No.1 single and album in the U.S.

Last time round: The Spice Girls on their reunion world tour in December 2007

Heyday: The Spice Girls at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York in 1997

VIDEO: Girl power! What do the five spices think of their new musical?...



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