£5 million. Not a bad fee for an ex-girl band member who puts their name to a musical.
90s pop phenomenon The Spice Girls recently reunited to announce details of Viva Forever!, a musical written by Jennifer Saunders and produced by Judy Craymer (Mamma Mia!) based on their hit songs. Despite not actually taking part in the show, nor having performed together in over four years, the girls hope to take the show international after it launches in London’s West End later this year. A guaranteed success? Probably. Who doesn’t love a musical? Or seemingly The Spice Girls? Their sell-out reunion tour estimated to have grossed over US$70 million. It almost seems foolish not to capitalise on the public’s undying obsession with live music.
Band member Melanie Chisholm has certainly caught on to potential profits from the musical landscape with heavy involvement in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s next musical talent search for ITV. Previously, at the BBC, Lloyd Webber found West End stars for The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver and The Wizard of Oz. The composer is now launching an arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar which is likely to roll out globally, and ITV is finding the star. The TV show, Superstar, is set to launch this summer, but the first London show at The O2 Arena sold out within 24 hours of going on sale. Cue the promotional conspiracy theories. Could there really be enough production staff to fill out a 20,000 capacity venue? Maybe that many people are genuinely intrigued by unlikely cast member Chris Moyles’ theatrical talent. Or maybe we just love musicals.
ITV and Andrew Lloyd Webber must be confident enough with the TV show to pre-sell concert tickets before we even know who is starring. Perhaps their confidence will rub off on the viewer; if there’s a live show it must be good. If the first date has sold out, we have to go. If we’ve bought a ticket we may as well watch the TV show. Not that I’m conspiring. The same can be said for the next edition of The X Factor, for which 2013 live tour tickets were recently released. Yes, that’s 2013, and no, the show hasn’t started yet. Sadly the same can’t be said for The Voice live tour which was forced to cancel due to low ticket sales. A shame for the contestants who are probably now hoping they’ll make the line-up for The X Factor 2013 live tour. If the seats were spinning I might have bought a ticket.
If ITV’s methods are anything to go by, it is now the event that sells the TV show, rather than the TV show selling the event. In any case, live events and TV entertainment undeniably come hand-in-hand. Viewer interactivity is more important than ever in format development and what better way to interact than see your votes transferred into a live theatrical experience, especially for the viewers sat at home who don’t have a friend working on the production team or are dedicated enough to queue for a seat in the studio audience.
The Spice Girls may be in for a profitable year but if Lloyd Webber’s fortune is anything to go by, Superstar may well be his next stroke of genius. Watch the trailer here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhrrPbC7z2U