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Here & Now: Steps Interview

Here & Now, a brand-new musical featuring the music of Steps, is premiering at Birmingham theatre The Alexandra in the autumn. What’s On spoke to the group - that’s Lee Latchford-Evans, Faye Tozer, Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Claire Richards - to find out more about the show. 

Why a Steps musical, and why now?

Lee: Why not? We’ve been talking about it for at least 10 years and seriously getting into it for the last five. We’ve had loads of different creative ideas, and we’ve got an amazing team around us. Yesterday, we got to see it come off the page, with actors and actresses, and listening to the music. It’s all coming together! We’re really excited. 

What sparked the idea to create this now?

Faye: We knew we were taking a break at this time, and we partnered up with ROYO, the producers - it’s just all interfaced perfectly. The writer and director and choreographer and the team that we’ve got is perfect for what we need, and for the show we envisaged. 

So going forward, what’s your involvement?

H: We’re co-producers, don’t you know!
Lisa: We’ve actually produced all of our tours, so it’s a role that we’ve taken before. We wanted to make sure that we stayed true to Steps and the songs, and that it all fitted in. We were in the right place at the right time with the right team - it’s all fallen into place!
Faye: We’ve all been really creative about tours, whether it’s to do with the set list, the costumes, lighting, set design... stuff like that. All of us are very passionate about it - and we are about this as well. So even though we have to give some of the creativity away, it’s really nice to say this is what we need it to be for our fans.

Talking of your fans, they’re already bringing a fantastic energy to Here & Now...

H: We’ve seen them this morning, queueing up outside! Nobody knows what the story’s about yet, but they know it’s set in a supermarket. Some of the fans have turned up today with Here & Now overalls on - so they’re already entering into the spirit of it. I love that.

Why did you choose Here & Now for the show’s title?

Claire: When we were talking about songs, it would have been really easy to call it 5,6,7,8, or One For Sorrow, or Tragedy. It’s going to appeal to Steps fans first and foremost, but we want it to be a musical that stands alone, that theatregoers and musical theatre lovers will want to go and see. If it was very obviously a Steps song, I think it would have put us into too small a box.
Lee: I think Here & Now is a timeless title.
H: When you know the story of the piece, then Tragedy or One For Sorrow aren’t right at all.
Faye: The story is very much about the here and now, isn’t it? About grabbing life with both hands and taking chances on happy endings.

Which hit are you most excited about seeing performed by somebody else on stage?

Lee: Stomp is quite a big scene, with quite a lot going on - so I’m looking forward to that one.
Claire: I’m actually looking forward to 5,6,7,8. That one had to go in the show because that’s our original song. The way they’ve done it is absolutely brilliant. It’s tongue in cheek, and it’ll be absolutely hilarious.
H: It feels completely legit that it’s there as well. Talking about costumes - people like to dress up as us, so maybe there will be some of that in the audience... That’s very cryptic, but you’ll get it!

Some of you are quite well versed in the world of musical theatre. Would any of you be tempted to appear in the musical?

Faye: We were laughing and saying it would be really funny if we did ‘surprise appearances’ - but not actually to be in the show, no.
Lee: Not to star in it or anything.
Faye: It would be funny if we just popped up on the merch stand...

Which of your songs best represents the story of your band?

H: Tragedy!
Faye: Neon Blue.
Lee: I was going to go with Neon Blue
H: The message in that song encapsulates us. Especially with the climate that the world is in at the moment, I think people need escapism and a safe place, and I really think we provide that for people.

Will any of the classic dance routines be featured in the musical?

Lisa: We have an award-winning choreographer, Matt Cole, who choreographed Newsies...
H: And his job’s very easy, because he’ll just do Steps dances!
Lisa: We’ve discussed it with him and asked what he envisages creatively, and he said it would be great to have a nod to all of our iconic dance moves, but he’s going to create something new as well. I think we’re all excited to see what he will create.
Lee: To appeal to somebody who doesn’t really know Steps. If it was full of our routines, the people who don’t know us wouldn’t really get it.

What’s been your proudest moment together?

H: Four number-one hits in four different decades - that’s something to be chuffed about. I think we’ve surprised a lot of people...
Claire: Proving people wrong since 1997!

As our interview drew to a close, the group were given a box-office update: an amazing 10,000 ticket sales had just been confirmed - on the very first day that sales were open. Make sure to book soon, to grab a seat at a musical that promises to be heartwarming, hilarious, and a great night out.