Never Forget, the new musical based on the greatest hits of reformed Nineties boyband Take That, has cancelled its previously announced move to the Lyric Theatre and will now close in the West End on 15 November 2008, at the end of its current booking period at the Savoy Theatre (See News, 1 Aug 2008). Producers, however, say it will be back in the West End – following another regional tour in 2009.

Following its world premiere last July at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre and two tours, Never Forget opened on 22 May 2008 (previews from 7 May) at the Savoy Theatre (See 1st Night Photos, 23 May 2008). It announced in August that it would make a “permanent transfer” from the 1,150-seat Savoy to the 950-seat Lyric, where it would begin an open-ended run on 20 November 2008. The cancellation of the transfer follows reports of salary disputes with cast members over the move to a smaller theatre.

Commenting on the decision today, producer Bronia Buchanan said: “The show was going to have to be substantially re-conceived for the smaller Lyric Theatre, and after discussions with the theatre, the unions, our fabulous cast and creative team, we have decided we need to re-imagine this version and protect the integrity of the production in its current format which has been proven to work time and time again, astounding and thrilling audiences every single night. So this show will now be going out on UK tour, new productions will open in territories around the world next year, and there is no doubt that it will be back in the West End in the not too distant future.”

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.

Never Forget has an original book written by Danny Brocklehurst, Guy Jones and Ed Curtis, who also directs. The production is designed by Bob Bailey and choreographed by Karen Bruce, with costumes by Christopher Woods and musical supervision by Mike Dixon. It’s produced by Tristan Baker, Bronia Buchanan and Charlie Parsons in association with Jason Haigh-Ellery.

- by Terri Paddock