Spice Girls take stage at musical premiere

Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:53pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The Spice Girls took to the stage on Tuesday after the world premiere of a new musical loosely based on their meteoric rise to fame in the 1990s, earning huge cheers from an audience that only really got going at the encore.

"Viva Forever!" was the brainchild of producer Judy Craymer, whose "Mamma Mia!" musical based on the hits of ABBA has earned nearly $2 billion worldwide and spawned a hit movie starring Meryl Streep.

She teamed up with British comedian Jennifer Saunders to create a story about the central character Viva, a sprightly teenager who, along with her friends, gets into the final stages of a TV singing contest closely resembling "The X Factor".

To boost flagging audience figures - a nod to "The X Factor"s real-life ratings woes in Britain this season - their "mentor" springs a surprise and throws out three members of the band to leave Viva on her own.

What follows is part morality tale examining what is more important - friends, family or fame - and part satire on reality television, including a callous, Simon Cowell-like producer.

"We love you Judy!" said Geri Halliwell at the end of the show, which closed with a romp through some of the Spice Girls' biggest hits including "Spice Up Your Life".

"Thank you for making the Spice Girls' dream come true," Halliwell added.

Halliwell was joined on stage by Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm, who together stormed the charts in the 1990s and put "girl power" on the map.   Continued...

Spice Girl members Melanie Brown (L-R), Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm arrive for the premiere of the musical "Viva Forever!", based on the music of the Spice Girls, in central London December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Toby Melville