War Of The Worlds
The Martians are back, for a new generation…
One of the most successful stage shows of recent times, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, returns to UK and Irish Arenas with a new star and another technological leap forward.
On November 18, 2011 ‘The New Generation’ of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds launched in conjunction with Sony Music, Live Nation and SJM Concerts, featuring a new interpretation of the classic recording followed by a major international arena tour commencing in The O2 in November 2012.
Internationally acclaimed actor Liam Neeson will be seen in 3D holography as the story's narrator and leading a new cast. Neeson will be seen in 3 ways: appearing as the first full body hologram seen on stage interacting with live actors, as an 11-foot high holographic head and shoulders hovering above the stage, and appearing within the 2-hour CGI film projected onto the incredible 100 foot wide ‘animation wall’ which adds a true epic scale to the production.
After 33 years since its original release, Liam takes over from Richard Burton, whose holographic head had appeared in the show since 2006, using the original narration from Jeff Wayne's classic 1978 album, a sound that has lived long in the memory and deep in the psyche of generations who have heard it.
Over the years, Jeff was often asked how he would approach composing and producing The War of The Worlds in today’s world, rather than the era of the mid 1970s, when disco was king of the dance floor, punk was the revolutionary music of the day and science fiction was being re-discovered in the movies and on TV.
He always answered ‘why fix what isn’t broken?.’ He was proud of the Work and especially of all those who had contributed their varied talents to bring it to life - David Essex, Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, Chris Thompson, Julie Covington, and of course, Richard Burton. What Jeff never predicted was the extraordinary life his musical interpretation of HG Wells’ visionary and dark Victorian tale would have. Now some 33 years on and as Jeff approached his sixth year of touring The War of The Worlds - Alive on Stage! and an animated feature film now in development, this same question kept returning.
“After long consideration,” says Jeff, “I concluded that for future productions, some of HG Wells’ storylines and characters should be re-explored. It would also give me the chance to re-interpret my compositions with the production techniques of today, exciting from a musician’s point of view.
“But perhaps the greatest opportunity was revisiting the main character of George Herbert, The Journalist who ‘threads’ the story together. And while it may have been the greatest opportunity, it was also the hardest decision to make because I knew that with a re-developed storyline, a new Journalist would need to be sought as Richard Burton’s original performance, was finite.
“And whoever that person might turn out to be, he would have to be of no less stature and quality of voice than that of Richard – an incredibly tough act to follow.
But once again I have been fortunate, and have attracted Liam Neeson to these New Generation productions. He has, so-to-speak, been handed the ‘baton’ from Richard Burton, and I believe audiences and listeners alike will find Liam’s interpretation no less compelling.”
By good fortune, Liam is a huge fan of the original album, having purchased it when it was first released in 1978. And ironically, as the ‘new kid on the block’, he acted in a mini TV series on what turned out to be one of Richard Burton's last roles before his untimely passing.