Way before the 'N' Sync and even before the Backstreet Boys, there was a British boy band phenomenon called Take That. If you never heard of them, it's likely because they only had one hit stateside back in 1995 with a tune called "Back For Good."
But in the United Kingdom from 1990-96, their music was inescapable. Indeed, the BBC heralded them as "The most successful British band since the Beatles, beloved of young and old alike." They were so huge that when its "chubby dancer" Robbie Williams decided to go solo in 1996, he took the world (save the United States) by storm.
So given the Britpop propensity toward turning every major musical artist catalog into a jukebox musical, a Take That stage show was inevitable. Never Forget The Musical, which kicks off a UK tour next month in Cardiff, is described as thus:
...a brand new British musical about love, friendship, ambition and betrayal. With an original story written by Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Clocking Off and Sorted), and featuring the sensational songs of the multi award-winning Take That, Never Forget promises to be the most spectacular new musical in years.This fantastic, wildly funny show is packed withall your favourite Take That hits, including the Number One smashes "Relight My Fire," "Pray," "Back For Good," "Babe" and, of course, "Never Forget." Don't miss this rollercoaster story this Summer you can be sure that this feel-good musical will be one you'll NEVER FORGET!
Only trouble is, the actual group is not authorizing it. The Times' Victoria Segal quotes the nearly-middle-age-men band that has recently regrouped as saying on their Web site that:
There have been reports in the press today about a "Take That musical.”... The band would like to state categorically that this production is being undertaken with neither their involvement nor their endorsement. They would wish their fans and the general public to know that this production is absolutely and 100 per cent nothing to do with Take That.
Ouch! Could this spell the end of the jukebox musical genre? Don't count on it, especially since it actually helps the original artists and bands sell tons more of their music. But it does cast a wrinkle that it's best to line up the support of said artists in advance....that is, unless it's really a deceptively shameless plot to get people like me talking about it in the first place.
Take that, indeed!
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for tickets.