Goal Achievement – Viva Forever (Or 6 Months!)

Viva ForeverThe end of June 2013 saw the last performance of the musical Viva Forever in London’s West End. Show runs come to an end all the time, so what makes this one notable, and what’s the goal achievement lesson screaming from the stage..?

Well, yes, show runs do come to an end all the time, but this one wasn’t supposed to be like that, since it only opened around 6 months previously to massive fanfare – a flop, in other words.

I’ve previously written about the success that Judy Craymer had with the Mama Mia! And it’s key to my point.

With that musical, she came up with the idea, persuaded Bjorn and Benny from Abba, gave up her job, sold her flat, all to pursue this idea, as an unknown producer, of a musical written around songs that already existed.

We all know what happened – it took off spectacularly, on stage all over the world, and turned into a successful film, Pierce Brosnan singing et al!

It might have failed though. Craymer had no idea, and was entering one of the harshest arenas, where expectation of failure is almost the default setting! She was happy to step into the unknown though.

Some huge goal achievement lessons in there, and the story of Viva Forever takes some follow on lessons…

Following on is the key. Whereas with Mama Mia, Craymer could not have expected such huge success, but with Viva Forever she went into the process as a rich woman with a proven track record, both elements which should shore up any venture.

She went about the same methods – getting approval from the band, sourcing a writer, setting about production, based on a global phenomenon, this time The Spice Girls.

It could have taken the same upward path as Mama Mia, but it didn’t, so why did it close after 6 months?

My view is that the songs were just not as strong. The Spice Girls phenomenon was all about ‘girl power’, feisty women sticking together to stick it to anyone in their way. That image/package was more weighty than their songs, which were throwaway pop.

Abba’s songs, however, were more substantial – certainly more embedded into the cultural mindset. You’ll hear ‘Dancing Queen’ sung at the karaoke machine, not sure you’ll hear many Spice Girls songs.

It didn’t help that the Spice Girls split up/carried on/reformed/split up, etc, because that shattered the girl power image, and created a suspicion of money making motivations.

I think it’s worth saying that the show got standing ovations, but the critics absolutely panned the show, which meant that the advance sales weren’t strong enough, and the big audiences were not made up of big enough ticket prices.

If a show loses money, it can only go on for so long, and Craymer is said to have lost many millions. The ongoing success of Mama Mia will see her ok, she’s not about to go poor.

Interesting, eh? Having created a success herself the first time around, she followed the same formula the second time. That worked for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice with their Jesus Christ/Evita models, but it didn’t work for Craymer.

I still think the strength of music was a root cause, which in the world of musicals can be somewhat important, and Craymer says she will happily try again if a suitable project comes along.

I like her attitude, and whether your goal is a massive musical success or not, look to your goals, see if a bit of Craymer’s attitude might help, and your own Viva Forever might last longer than 6 months!

Ok, do let me know what you think – leave a comment below, or share, like tweet etc!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. Here’s that article about the Mama Mia musical – Goal Achievement – Mama Mia!

Do leave a comment!

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  • I read that the producer blamed the writer, Jennifer Saunders, for a weak story and poor dialogue.

    Unlike you, I imagine, I have been to a Spice Girls concert. For a few years, my now 26 year old daughter was a fanatic. She even used the little pocket money she had to buy the Spice Girl Polaroid camera, a total rip-off

    But it was a pre-teen phenomenon. By the age of 15, she had no interest in them. And I suspect that was the real problem for this show.

    • Yep, I agree Pearson. I hadn’t heard Craymer blame Saunders though, I thought she had said she did a great job! Mind you, she would say that in public! *off to see if I can find some dirt*
      P.S. You’re right, I never did see them…

  • I, too, have been subjected to a Spice Girls concert or two.. (Thanks to my daughters, of course…)
    I don’t think the Spice Girl crew has grown up enough to support a Bradway-tupe show, with the high ticket prices. Abba fans (really, there are some) have more disposable cash, being much older.
    This seems to be a failure of market research.

    • That’s a good point Roy. Blimey, I’m feeling like I’ve missed about by not seeing them…wait…feeling has passed!

  • We love Ma Ma Mia. Seen it more than 10 times. You never grow tired of hearing Abba. Whereas Spice girls – I’ll tell you what I want…. Thats the only one I remember.

    • Hi Kay,
      I gave myself a little test, seeing how many Abba songs I could sing versus Spice Girls songs. I was surprised that I knew more than one Spice Girls song, but the Abba songs tend to have an accompanying smile, and *that’s* the key element!

  • I’m inclined to agree that it was the songs that made it fail. The Spice Girls were a short-lived pop fad. I remember them, but I have a hard time clearly bringing to mind their songs. Whereas if you say ABBA, their songs CLEARLY pop into my head. It makes a difference.

    • Hi Gwynne,
      I like what the Spice Girls achieved, massive hard work put in, but a legacy of songs? Er, no!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • I used to love Spice Girls and Victoria was my favorite. I used to think that they are really bff’s but as I got a little older I realized that it’s all a gimmick. Abba are still doing a concert here in the Philippines and they are doing well.

    • I think they were all in it together at the start and for a long time – I’d say 3 or 4 of them are still friendly, but they all went in different directions once age and success kicked in!