Spice Girls Musical 'Viva Forever' Set for London Debut

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Buzz is building as the show, written by Jennifer Saunders and featuring the songs of the girl group, prepares to premiere in the British capital.

LONDON – The U.K. media is abuzz with what promises to be one of the landmark entertainment events of the year as 2012 draws to a close with Tuesday night's debut for stage musical Viva Forever.

While musical theater debuts seldom make as much noise in the British media as glitzy movie premieres and rock concerts, Viva Forever is hitting the headlines because it is based on the songs of the Spice Girls, written by British comedy royalty Jennifer Saunders and produced by Judy Craymer, the producer whose resume boasts the stage and screen versions of the hugely successful ABBA musical Mamma Mia!

The members of the 1990s girl group – Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice, Emma Bunton aka Baby Spice, Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice, Melanie Brown aka Scary Spice and Melanie Chisholm aka Sporty Spice – are all expected on the red carpet for Tuesday's opening night at London's Piccadilly Theater.

The girl group sold more than 75 million records worldwide and has been described as the most successful female collective of all time.

Having performed for the last time together in 2000, the group reformed in 2007, embarking on a world tour before the quintet went their separate ways to pursue individual projects.

Most recently they banded together again for the London 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony where they performed a medley of hits Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life.

Saunders is perhaps best known to U.S. audiences for her turns in comedy Absolutely Fabulous, a show she created, wrote and starred in opposite Joanna Lumley.

The media interest in the opening is largely to see if the Spice Girls and the mantra of girl power they popularized remains as big a draw as it once was.

Certainly the social media networks are likely to be abuzz.

According to Wikipedia, their turn during the Olympics closing ceremony was the event's most tweeted moment with over 116,000 tweets per minute on Twitter.

The Associated Press described Viva Forever as "pop confection with heavyweight credentials," while Saunders described herself in an interview with The Mirror tabloid as "the sixth Spice Girl," citing that as the reason for her writing it.

The opening night is expected to be a star-studded affair.