It was announced at a press conference in London on Friday that there will be a ‘new generation’ of Jeff Wayne’s wonderful musical version of The War of the Worlds. Liam Neeson will take over Richard Burtons role as George Herbert the journalist.
There will be a new double album released in June 2012. The other parts have not yet been announced. Justin Hayward has been the sung thoughts of the journalist since the original album, but I wondering now with Liam Neeson playing the Richard Burton role if he will also sing?….I’ve no idea if Liam Neeson can sing.
The other main roles have changed at every tour. Last time Rhydian was Parson Nathaniel and Liz McClarnon played Beth.
Liam Neeson will be seen as a full body 3D holograph and it does say on the site he will be leading a new cast…so I’m kind or guessing there will be no Justin or Chris. I will continue to watch the website for further updates. The main page of news is here.
The tour kicks off on November 29th, 2012 in Dublin. There is no mention of a date in Belfast. The tour then starts in the UK on December 1st, 2012. I’m really hoping there won’t be the same travel chaos as there was last year due to the snow. You can see the link to the tour dates here. Tickets go on sale on 21/11/11
Some of the press conference is here:
Update: On March 1st it was announced that Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs will play the part of the Artillery Man and Kerry Ellis from the stage show Wicked will play Beth on the tour and also the new album.
Well after a year of waiting (because it was a year ago that the tickets went on sale). The big day finally arrived.
We braved the snow and headed up to Dublin. The show has changed since we saw it last year. There is now a ‘prequel’ starring ‘Vera and William’ (Lily Osbourne and Michael Falzon) who wander around as the audience are taking their seats. They are looking at a map and looking through a telescope towards the sky. Suddenly the lights flash and the wind blows…..which blew leaves and newspapers onto us as we were in the front row.
Then the music begins. There were changes to the cast this year. Justin Hayward returned as the sung thoughts of the journalist and didn’t disappoint. His voice is as strong and melodic as always and Forever Autumn is especially haunting when the leaves start to fall onto us and he is searching for his love Carrie.
The Voice Of Humanity (Chris Thompson) – appears during the battle of Thunder Child with the Martian tripods depicted and sung. The steamer is packed with people trying to flee the Martian invasion. In spite of all on board, including Carrie, reaching the shore safely, the war is lost as the Thunder Child sinks forever and the Earth belongs to the Martians. I felt Chris wasn’t as vocally strong as he was last year which was a shame.
George Herbert, The Journalist (Richard Burton) – the main narrator of the story, who is in his late thirties. He is a character with a strong grip on reality, though his reality becomes one he never thought possible due to the arrival of the Martians. As Richard Burton is no longer with us his head is now a talking hologram, it’s very clever.
The new cast members are: Liz McClarnon who plays Beth the parsons wife, Rhydian Roberts who is Parson Nathaniel and Jason Donovan who is the Artillery Man.
They were all brilliant. I especially enjoyed Rhydian and Liz’s performances. They put their heart and souls into it. Rhydian sounds very similar to Russell Watson who played the part in 2006. Liz looked so distressed as she was singing, like she met every word. The only think I would have changed was Rhydians wig, it did look like a wig. It might have been better if he was to dye his hair for the show.
Jason was also very good except his accent was changing to his normal accent quite a bit and as the Artillery Man is meant to be cockney he sounded a bit odd with an Australian accent. I personally think Alexis James is the perfect artillery man. It’s also very hard to get the Iceland adverts out of my head as I was watching Jason.
The 30 foot martian fighting machine shoots out real heatrays. We could feel the heat where we were and luckily we still have our eyebrows! I screamed like a girl when the flares went off!
There was also a new part of the show when a man from NASA takes to the stage at the end of the show and notices something not quite right…..are the martians returning???? Then he gets blown to bits! It’s very clever and I’ve no idea how they did it.
Of course the man himself needs a special mention and that is Jeff Wayne, he composed this fantastic show. Along with the orchestra and The Black Smoke band the whole thing comes alive. Sitting so close to the stage we actually felt like we had been invaded by Martians.
We were so lucky to be staying in the same hotel as the cast of the show. So we were able to meet most of them. Herbie Flowers who plays the bass in the band is a really lovely man, we were delighted to meet him. We also met Liz, Jason, Jeff, Rhydian, Chris and some of the band members.
This is such an amazing show if you do get a chance to see it do go along. It’s a night you will never forget. The rest of my photos are here.
It’s only a week to go until Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds will be live at the O2 in Dublin. I’m really looking forward to it. We saw it last year and it was a great show, although we were a mile away from the stage, this time we have got front row seats :)
I’m still not sure about Jason Donovan playing the Artillery man as Alexis James did such a good job, but we’ll see.
There is a great article about the show here if you want to have a read. There are also more photo’s on it. Andy has decided he’s not coming to see the show this time so I have a front row ticket for sale if anyone is interested.
Just to get you in the mood for the show. Here is the tv advert:
Also here is a small clip of Rhydians audition for the Parson. I think he sounds brilliant.
Many of you will know that I’m a big fan of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of the War of the Worlds. For those of you in the UK who are thinking of going to see it, there is an offer on for this week for children under 14 to get half price tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/promo/pd3rjk
We went to see it in June last year at the O2 in Dublin and were lucky enough to meet some of the cast. We really enjoyed the show. Although I do think Russell Watson was a better Parson then Shannon Noll.
Alexis James was the Artillery Man and he did an amazing job, even (dare I say it), better then David Essex on the original album. So this year I’m am totally gobsmacked that he didn’t get the role again and it was instead given to Jason Donovan. I don’t get the logic behind it. Surely if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can’t imagine anyone doing near as good a job as Alexis did.
The other roles (except Justin Hayward, Chris Thompson and of course Richard Burton), have always been changed but Alexis was always the artillery man in the European live shows.
Anyway onto the other cast. Liz McClarnon is playing Beth the parson’s wife and I think she’ll do a good job. Then in March Rhydian (X Factor) was announced as the Parson. First of all I wasn’t impressed but thinking about it he has a similar voice to Russell Watson so I think that will work.
Here is what someone on the War of the Worlds forum had to say:
WOW what a cast list, and who said that Vaudeville was dead?.The way thing’s are going, I would say this show look’s like it is trying to ease it’s way into the West End.
Then again maybe the tour’s are timed to coincide with the Panto season, oh no they are’nt, oh yes they are, and perhap’s next year they could get Tony Christie to play the parson.
And the year after that they could shove the boat right out of sight by asking the public to enter a competition were one lucky bugger (PROBABLY RELATED TO THE PRODUCER) would be fairly voted in to acutally be a star in the show, Xfactor stylee, only this time it would be different. I can see it now, Jeff Waynes World’s musical version of The War of The World’s Christmas spectacular On Ice, with Frank Bruno and the chuckle brothers and special guest’s The Krankies. Of course Richard Burton’s head will be replaced in the narrator’s role by the chrome dome of Harry Hill. you see thing is I like Martians and then again I like Earthlings, but which is better? There’s only one way to find out…….. Fiiiiiight