The cast of Never Forget, the new musical based on the songs of boy band Take That, performed at a special event in London on 26 November to launch the West End run of the show, which opens at the Savoy on 21 May.
At the Soho venue, twentyfour:London, Dean Chisnall, Stephane Anelli, Tim Driesen and Eaton James, four of the five stars of this new musical about a Take That tribute band, sang a few numbers from the show, ending with the title track Never Forget, accompanied by a children’s choir. Craige Els, who plays the fifth member of the band, was unable to attend the launch.
The new musical, which toured five venues across the UK from July-September this year, is written by Danny Brocklehurst (TV’s Shameless, Clocking Off), with additional material by Guy Jones and Ed Curtis, and choreography by Laurence Olivier Award winner Karen Bruce (Saturday Night Fever, Pacific Overtures, Fame, Footloose). Set in Manchester, the story follows the creation of an unlikely Take That tribute band, headed by lead singer Ash. Billed as a ‘feelgood comedy about love, friendship, ambition and betrayal’, the show features the back catalogue of hit songs by 90s boy band Take That, who are currently enjoying a successful comeback.
Anelli, who plays Jose Reize, one fifth of the tribute band, told Official London Theatre he is excited about the show coming to London following the out-of-town try-out. “I think now that we know it’s coming into town I think there’s going to be more money spent on it, to ‘zhuzh’ it all up and make sure it’s fit for London, because we want it to be a massive hit and it has all the ingredients to be a massive hit, so it’s only ourselves to blame if it doesn’t actually work.”
With West End credits including Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, Anelli knows exactly what ingredients a successful show needs, and feels the performance style of Take That during their 1990s heyday suits musical theatre adaptation. “They [Take That] always created a big show, it wasn’t just guys stood to sell seats, it was a massive production. For me, growing up, it was fantastic to watch that, as far as being a performer. It was a full on performance, you went to see a show. And I think that’s what lends itself to musical theatre. All their songs lend themselves very easily, they are very theatrical, they all tell a story.”
As for Take That themselves, writer Gary Barlow and the three remaining members of the band may be enjoying a resurgence in popularity at the moment, but they are not involved with the musical. Anelli commented: “They were at the beginning, they were very much involved. But, you know, different circumstances and their career now developing into different things it just didn’t work out.” He added: “We are absolutely in awe, we completely celebrate what they are now, what they have been, we’re big fans, we all are. I’m sure when they come and see it they will love it and realise that we are totally celebrating what they have achieved.”
Never Forget opens at the Savoy on 21 May following previews from 7 May and is booking until 25 October 2008.
Currently at the Savoy is Fiddler On The Roof, which ends its run there on 26 April 2008. em>CB