As previously reported (See News, 7 Jun 2007), Never Forget, the new musical based on the greatest hits of reformed Nineties boyband Take That, will transfer to the West End following its premiere and regional tour earlier this year. It is now confirmed to opens on 21 May 2008 (previews from 7 May) at the Savoy Theatre, where it’s initially booking until 25 October 2008.

The musical - which has an original book written by TV’s Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Clocking Off), Guy Jones and Ed Curtis, who also directs - 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”.

Never Forget received its world premiere in July at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre before touring to Glasgow, Manchester (Take That’s home city), Stoke and Edinburgh, where it tour concluded on 22 September. The production is directed by Curtis, designed by Christopher Woods and choreographed by Karen Bruce, with Mike Dixon as musical supervisor.

The cast for the tour was led by Dean Chisnall (Ash), Craig Els, Stephane Anelli, Tim Driesen, Eaton James, who are expected to reprise their performances as the five-strong tribute band in London. Ahead of the transfer, the show will embark on another short regional tour in the spring.

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 2005 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 in February 2007.

Shortly following the announcement of the musical in March (See News, 14 Mar 2007), Take That released a statement declaring that the musical “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 percent nothing to do with Take That" (See The Goss, 15 Mar 2007). Never Forget is produced by Tristan Baker and Bronia Buchanan.

Currently at the Savoy, the Sheffield Crucible revival of 1964 Broadway classic Fiddler on the Roof, starring Henry Goodman as Russian milkman Tevye, has announced a final three-month extension to 26 April 2008, ahead of the Never Forget transfer. From 18 February, there will be three matinee performances each week to meet demand (on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as opposed to Wednesday and Saturday). First seen last Christmas in Sheffield, Lindsay Posner’s production opened at the Savoy on 29 May 2007 (previews from 19 May).

In Tsarist Russia in 1905, poor dairyman Tevye is doing his best to preserve tradition in the face of a changing world by marrying his daughters off in the traditional Jewish way. But revolution is in the air and the young are guided by their hearts, not their elders. When his daughters refuse the matchmaker's advice and marry for love instead, Tevye must choose between their happiness and his beloved traditions.

The musical, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem with a book by Joseph Stein and score by Jerry Block and Sheldon Harnick, originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and includes now-classic songs such as "Tradition", "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and "If I Were a Rich Man". The current West End cast also features Alexandra Silber, Damian Humbley, Julie Legrand, Victor McGuire and, as Tevye’s wife Golde, Beverley Klein. The production is designed by Peter McKintosh and features the original choreography of Jerome Robbins (recreated by Sammy Dallas Bates with additions by Kate Flatt).

- by Terri Paddock