LONDON — It’s time to find out whether Girl Power is still going strong, with Tuesday’s premiere of “Viva Forever,” a new stage musical based on the songs of the Spice Girls.
Four of the Spice Girls arrived together on the red carpet ahead of the premiere, to cheers and chants of “spice up your life” from scores of die-hard fans.
Melanie Chisholm – “Sporty Spice” – said she was not afraid of critics’ verdict on the show.
“If people criticize it, we don’t care – because we love it,” she said.
Chisholm turned up at London’s Piccadilly Theatre with Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell and Melanie Brown – also known as Baby, Ginger and Scary Spice, respectively. Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham was running late, they said.
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!”
Craymer predicted it would be an emotional night for the group.
“They’ve already cried and laughed a lot when we’ve taken them through the story,” she said.
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.”
Shia LaBeouf to transform into stage actor
NEW YORK — Shia LaBeouf is about to transform – into a Broadway actor.
The ex-star of the “Transformers” franchise will make his Broadway debut opposite Alec Baldwin in Lyle Kessler’s “Orphans” at the Schoenfeld Theatre starting March 19. Daniel Sullivan will direct.
The play, which premiered in 1983, tells the story of two orphaned brothers living in a decrepit Philadelphia row house who decide to kidnap a wealthy man. LaBeouf plays one brother and Baldwin the target.
LaBeouf, whose films include “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” was most recently seen in John Hillcoat’s crime drama “Lawless.”
Parker praises EU for winning Nobel Prize
OSLO, Norway — American actress Sarah Jessica Parker praised the EU on Tuesday for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for pacifying Europe and uniting its different cultures after World War II, and she said the bloc should serve as an example to the United States.
Parker said that while it might be controversial to have awarded the 27-nation EU the prestigious award as it struggles with a financial crisis that is causing hardship to many, it is “a terrific blueprint for us,” and one the U.S. should learn from.
“I don’t know how we can’t,” she said in an interview before the Nobel Concert she is hosting with Scottish actor Gerard Butler. “It is also a story that we are trying to tell in our country. We are trying to say to one another: We are different. We are a divided nation, but our goals in many ways are the same.