The nation is abuzz with news of the Spice Girls’ brief reunion to announce details of new musical Viva Forever! based on their catalogue of hit songs.
The setting was fitting as they journeyed back to where it all began: the St Pancras Hotel in London where, back in 1996, they filmed the music video for their debut single Wannabe.
Viva Forever! has been written by British comedienne and writer Jennifer Saunders. The musical will be set against the backdrop of a TV talent show and will tell the story of “a beautiful and talented girl and her best friends who get swept up in the obsession of today’s TV celebrity culture”.
Backed by Judy Craymer, producer of Abba Musical Mamma Mia! and directed by Paul Garrington (Dirty Dancing, Mamma Mia!), the show will open on 11 December at London’s Piccadilly Theatre.
But what have the Spice Girls been up to since their split in 2000? In celebration of the latest outing of Girl Power, here’s the best bits of each Spice Girl’s solo efforts (WARNING: contains dodgy cameos and ill-advised pop ventures)…
She was famously vocally-challenged during her Spice Girl days but that didn’t stop Victoria Beckham embarking on a solo career with Out of Your Mind – a collaboration with Dane Bowers and Truesteppers. Posh continued her solo efforts by developing an “urban sound” with producer Damon Dash for Let Your Head Go in 2003 before taking sound advice and abandoning further musical releases.
Her marriage to footballer David Beckham has since taken her to Madrid and then LA where the couple and their brood of four schmooze with the likes of Will Smith and Tom Cruise. Cameo roles in Ugly Betty and Spongebob Squarepants have followed but her main pursuit remains fashion. Yes, po-faced Posh has branched out from her Spice Girls LBD to launch her eponymous fashion label which has met with positive reviews in the fashion world. She continues to pursue her love of labels and in 2011 was awarded the Designer of the Year gong at the British Fashion Awards.
Geraldine Estelle Halliwell – more commonly known as Ginger Spice – left the group in dramatic fashion in May 1998. Her first album Schizophonic sold over 500,000 copies and scored Geri a string of number one hits, including Mi Chico Latino and Lift Me Up. But following a rain-drenched performance belting out It’s Raining Men for Bridget Jones’s Diary, Geri’s solo career hit the skids and she was soon popping up on television screens, firstly as a judge in Popstars: The Rivals, before a toe-curling cameo in Sex and the City and appearance in 2004 film Fat Slags.
Bypassing an ill-advised musical comeback with album Passion, Geri has become something of a businesswoman in recent years with a clothing range for Next and a successful children’s book series, Ugenia Lavendar. In 2008 Halliwell announced she had no plans to further her career as a solo artist – all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Solo success has eluded Scary Spice since her debut single ‘I Want You Back’ scored her a number one. Her 2005 offering Today limped into the charts at #41 and the curly-maned singer abandoned her musical career. She has since branched into acting, with roles in British drama Burn It, the musical Rent and…er… the Vagina Monologues (Scary indeed!)
But perhaps her most famous role-to-date has been her much-documented dalliance with actor Eddie Murphy. Shortly after their high-profile split, details of Brown’s pregnancy emerged and, after initially denying his involvement, a paternity test soon proved Eddie Murphy was indeed the father. Reality show Mel B: It’s A Scary World soon followed, as did video game Get Fit With Mel B, but nowadays she can be found Down Under without a leopard print platform boot in sight, as she embarks on a new career presenting the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.
In 2001 Emma released A Girl Like Me, reaching number 4 in the UK album chart and spurning number one single What Took You So Long? as well as top five hit What I Am. A second album – Free Me – peaked at number 7 but was followed by the disappointing Life in Mono (2006) which made a brief appearance at number 65.
In 2006 Emma begun her transition into television. After testing the water in Bollywood films, she tried her hand at BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, finishing third after Mark Ramprakash and Matt Dawson. This was followed by roles as a judge on Dancing on Ice and presenter on Don’t Stop Believing before showing her feisty side in her cameo appearance in 2011’s Absolutely Fabulous Christmas special. Once dubbed the baby of the group, Emma has since become the yummy mummy and can now be found on Heart Radio’s Saturday drive-time show – Emma’s Saturday Anthems.
Since the Spice Girls’ split, Mel C – or Sporty Spice – has gone on to record six studio albums and sell 12 million records. Thanks to memorable collaborations with Bryan Adams (When You’re Gone) and the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes (Never Be the Same Again) she currently holds the third position for most UK number ones by a female artist and is the only female to score the top spot as part of a quartet, quintet, duo and solo.
Having undergone a visual transformation since the 90s, from sporty tomboy to crop-haired rocker she has recently adopted a more feminine look, as seen in today’s floaty ensemble. She’s continued to produce a string of musical releases, albeit with less commercial success, and in 2009 took the role of Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers which earned her an Olivier nomination. Her next project is playing Mary Magdalen in the UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, following Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ITV search for the lead role of Jesus.