The musical, which has an original book written by TV’s Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Clocking Off), will then visit Glasgow (8 to 18 August), Manchester (21 August to 1 September), Stoke (4 to 8 September) and Edinburgh (18 to 22 September) before an autumn transfer to the West End (venue and dates still tbc). Tickets for the regional dates go on sale today (14 March).
Never Forget centres on the members of the unlikeliest Take That tribute band and follows the rollercoaster journey of young hero Ash and his best mates in the pursuit of their dreams. Along the way each of them discovers that pretending to be someone else can sometimes help you find out who you really are. The show includes Take That chart-toppers including “Relight My Fire”, “Pray”, “Back for Good”, “Babe” and the title number “Never Forget”.
In addition to Shameless and Clocking Off, Brocklehurst’s other TV credits include Sorted, Linda Green and the upcoming Is This Love. For the stage, he’s written My Eight Times Table, Nobody and Loaded, which won the North West Playwrights Best Play award and was subsequently adapted for BBC Radio 4. Never Forget will be directed by Ed Curtis (Marlon Brando’s Corset, Conspiracy) and choreographed by Karen Bruce (Footloose, Fame). Mike Dixon, currently a mentor on Channel 4 reality TV programme Musicool (See News, 13 Mar 2007), will be musical supervisor. Dixon’s previous West End credits include Grease and the Queen musical We Will Rock You.
Commenting on the new musical, producer Tristan Baker said: “We are the biggest fans of Take That’s music and we are so excited about the wonderful opportunity to create a new musical based on the fantastic catalogue of their work. We look forward to creating a legacy with these well-loved songs in the way that shows such as Mamma Mia! has done before.” Baker’s fellow producer Bronia Buchanan added: “We are creating a spectacle which will appeal to both Take That fans and musical theatregoers alike. We hope that the band will be delighted with the production when they see the show themselves.”
Formed in Manchester, in the first half of the Nineties Take That dominated the UK pop charts with its dance tunes and soulful ballads, selling 15 million records between 1990 and their split in 1996. After a TV documentary in 1995 and the release of a greatest hits album, original band members Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Howard Donald (Robbie Williams being the one exception) reunited for last summer’s Ultimate Tour. The tour was first scheduled for 11 stops in the UK and Ireland, but after the initial dates sold out within half-an-hour of going on sale, extra dates – in stadiums – were added. The band released its first studio album in more than a decade - Beautiful World - in November 2006, and their single, "Shine", topped the charts, going straight to Number One when it was released last month.
No casting has yet been announced for Never Forget. This and further details of the musical’s London transfer are expected shortly.
- by Terri Paddock