Spice Girls Musical 'Viva Forever' in London to Close After Six Months

Spice Girls Performance - H 2012
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Spice Girls Performance - H 2012

The early end of the show's run comes amid weak ticket sales following negative reviews.

LONDON - Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! will close in London at the end of June after a run of just six months.

"Sadly, ?#VivaForever? today posts closing notices at The Piccadilly Theatre," the Twitter feed for the stage production in London's West End said Thursday. "The final performance is 29th June 2013."

Critics slammed the musical featuring songs from the British 1990s girl-power sensation when it opened in December, leading to weak ticket sales. Written by Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous fame, the show is about a girl band looking for stardom on a reality TV show.

The Daily Mail tabloid called it "a disappointment." And the Telegraph's critic said that fans of the Spice Girls had better stay home to listen to their music. "I’ll tell you what I wanted, what I really, really wanted – I wanted this terrible show to stop," he wrote.

Producer Judy Craymer had a major hit with ABBA musical Mamma Mia!, which became a global success. That show has been playing in London since 1999; on Broadway, it has been running for more than 12 years, grossing a massive $537 million to date. It also spawned Universal's 2008 international blockbuster screen adaptation starring Meryl Streep. Worldwide grosses for the property are in excess of $2 billion.

However, Craymer's plan to mine the Spice Girls' catalog for similar gold was foiled by a book with poorly defined characters that limply satirizes The X Factor and other British TV talent contests, as well as songs built around catch-phrases that provided little plot momentum. Craymer's official statement about the demise of Viva Forever! indicated that fine-tuning on the show had continued after critics weighed in.

"The show has evolved since we first opened and is now brighter, lighter and funnier, but despite the wonderful audiences and extremely positive feedback we just can't make it work," Craymer said on Thursday.

Spice Girls members Melanie C, known as Sporty Spice, and Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice, took to Twitter to express their disappointment. Melanie C, currently in a touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, tweeted: "Absolutely devastated our wonderful show is closing. Thank you to our brilliant cast and everybody who made the show so incredible."

Said Bunton: "I am totally gutted that our wonderful show ?@vivaforever? is coming to an end. Thank you to all our amazing fans for your constant support!"

British media reports spoke of a possible loss of $7.75 million (£5 million) for the musical.

"If you've booked tickets for performances after 29 Jun, contact your point of sale to arrange an alternative date or a refund," the production's Twitter feed advised audiences on Thursday.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai