Myriad familiar faces from the worlds of pop and television converged on the Savoy Theatre last night (22 May 2008, previews from 7 May) for the gala West End opening of Never Forget, the new musical based on the greatest hits of reformed Nineties boyband Take That. As the critics had been let in the night before (with reviews embargoed until today), the mission for the star-studded evening was simply to “Take That and Party”.

The musical centres on the members of the unlikeliest Take That tribute band and follows the rollercoaster journey of young Gary Barlow-like hero Ash (Dean Chisnall) and his mates (Craige Els, Stephane Anelli, Tim Driesen and Eaton James) 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.

Never Forget includes Take That chart-toppers such as “Relight My Fire”, “Pray”, “Back for Good”, “Babe” and the title number. The Take Thatters are joined in the 28-strong cast by Sophia Ragavelas, Joanne Farrell, Teddy Kempner and Marilyn Cutts, as well as 20 members of the Never Forget children’s choir who accompany them in the finale.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the Never Forget red carpet arrivals and curtain call at the Savoy Theatre and at the post-show party No 1 Piazza, Covent Garden, along with the company and other first night guests including Max Clifford, Gaby Roslin, Suzanne Shaw, Angus Deayton, Natasha Kaplinsky, Paul O'Grady, Elaine Paige, Cheryl Baker, Chesney Hawkes, Andy Scott-Lee, Lisa Scott-Lee, Arlene Phillips, Vanessa Feltz, Ben Ofoedu, Craig Revel-Horwood, Susannah Fellows, Imogen Lloyd Webber, Anthony Costa, Georgina Bouzova, Ross Kemp, Denise Van Outen, TV presenters Toby Anstis, Claire King, Angelica Bell and Rachel Catman, EastEndersEmma Barton and Joel Beckett, Big Brother’s Sam and Amanda Marchant, Strictly Come Dancing’s Karen Hardy and Matthew Cutler, designer Julian Macdonald and Nigel Martin Smith, the Manchester-based band manager who originally found and assembled the members of Take That - Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Robbie Williams – in the early 1990s.

Never Forget has an original book written by TV’s Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Clocking Off), Guy Jones and Ed Curtis, who also directs. The musical received its world premiere last July at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre before launching two pre-West End tours. The production is designed by Christopher Woods and choreographed by Karen Bruce, with Mike Dixon as musical supervisor. It’s produced by Tristan Baker, Bronia Buchanan and Charlie Parsons in association with Jason Haigh-Ellery.

- by Terri Paddock