ABBA. The Four Seasons. Billy Joel. Even Green Day. But … the Spice Girls?
The 1990s English pop group is only one of the latest musicians to try out the big stage with a new musical called “Viva Forever.” While the careers of several musicians and groups have had great success on Broadway, Fairfield students had mixed reactions to the news of a Spice Girls musical.
“I was never into the Spice Girls. I can’t even name one of their songs,” said Maggie Smith ’12.
Most students said they were fans of the group but the decision to go see the musical would depend partly on the price, reviews, and story. According to Broadway.com, “Viva Forever” will tell its own story set to the music of the Spice Girls, rather than be a tribute to the pop group, similar to “Mamma Mia!”
The popularity of the group is still apparent, proved by the huge success of a reunion concert tour in 2007-2008 that attracted old and new fans. Also, as Pat Shea ‘11 pointed out, the Spice Girls are still celebrated today because many people our age have at least some of the well-known hits on their iPod.
According to Martha LoMonaco, professor and director of Fairfield’s theater program and producer for Theatre Fairfield, the producers think that tons of Spice Girls fans will buy lots of tickets to the show and attract the masses.
“The commercial Broadway theater is all about product,” said LoMonaco. “Anything that has the potential to sell as mass entertainment will get developed and produced.”
“Mamma Mia!” producer Judy Craymer has teamed up with American Idol creator Simon Fuller’s company XIX and Universal Music to create the show. “It will harness the distinct personality of the Spice Girls to create a musical that celebrates the energy and excitement of the biggest girl-band of all time,” Craymer said in a statement to the press. The U.K.’s Daily Mirror reported that the idea is to have five unknown actresses take the parts and the Spice Girls will have a say in who is cast. The Spice Girls formed in 1994 and went on to become one of the most successful girl groups of all time.
“It makes me feel old when groups from our childhood are doing these kinds of musicals,” said Wilkinson.
While some who liked and listened to the Spice Girls years ago, like Kelly Burke ’10 and Kate Meszaros ’11, held an interest in seeing the musical, others who also listened to the group when younger, like Felicia Lee ’10, were not so into the idea. Although Lee was not interested in seeing the musical, fans of the group who still follow them today may want to go see it, she said. Also, because of the name recognition of the Spice Girls, others may feel an incentive to go see it as well, Lee said.
“I think it would be fun because the music is obviously catchy,” said Elise Wilkinson ’10.
“About time,” Corinne Puorro ’10 joked when told about the musical. Like hundreds of other young girls, the Spice Girls were Puorro’s favorite group as a child. “I’m excited for the musical and will definitely go see it,” she said.
Meaghan Bradley ’10 listened to the Spice Girls when she was younger but had no interest in seeing their musical list. “I feel like Spice Girls music isn’t necessarily musical caliber,” she said.
However, Shea thought that the Spice Girls fit in with the musicians that made it to Broadway.