Westlife’s Brian McFadden, Jason Donovan and Les Miserables’ Carrie Hope Fletcher will star in Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds when it returns for the sixth and final time to tour in 2014.
The announcement coincides with the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ iconic radio adaptation, the 35th anniversary of Wayne’s classic multi-platinum album and the 115th anniversary of HG Wells’ classic novel.
The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist will be performed by McFadden, Donovan is reprising his popular role as Parson Nathaniel and Fletcher features as Beth, Parson Nathaniel’s Wife (direct from her acclaimed West End performance in Les Miserables, as Eponine).
Wayne returns to the podium to conduct the nine-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA Strings. Liam Neeson’s 3D holographic performance as The Journalist will also return but with enhanced technology.
The production will be the sixth UK tour in eight years. Wayne said: “Bringing The War of The Worlds to life in many of the world’s finest arenas has been the most amazing experience for me over the last seven years. We’ve achieved more than we ever thought was possible both musically and technologically.
“However, the time is right to take The War of The Worlds in new directions after the 2014 tour. I am so very appreciative of the fantastic support over the years from so many established fans as well as numerous new ones we’ve attracted. Thank you all sincerely.”
McFadden commented: “I’ve long been a fan of The War of The Worlds and am so excited to be involved in the tour. It’s a true honour to be involved in this electrifying show and to be joining such an exciting cast, including singing the thoughts of The Journalist, who is played by one of my Irish heroes, Liam Neeson. It’s also a thrill to be performing the two hit singles ‘The Eve of The War’ and ‘Forever Autumn’.”
Donovan added: “The War of The Worlds is a classic. This production is on a scale like nothing I have ever done before – the effects are breathtaking both in front and behind the stage. It’s also one of the most enjoyable, most exciting and most memorable musical productions of all time. It’s a true honour to be returning for the third time, especially as this is the final arena tour.”
Les Miserables star Carrie Hope Fletcher, who also has a significant YouTube following, and whose brother, Tom Fletcher, is McFly’s guitarist, said: “I’m delighted to have been cast as Beth, Parson Nathaniel’s wife: I genuinely can’t wait to get started. My family and I grew up listening to the album and now I’m going to be a part of it. My character levitates and disappears into thin air in full view of the audience, so that’s rather exciting too!”
Neeson’s performance in 3D holography sees him as an 11-foot high ‘head and shoulders’ as The Journalist recounting in 1904 his story of survival from the Martian invasion of Victorian England of six years earlier. The actor’s image will also seen in full body onstage interacting with the show’s live performers.
The tour announcement follows the DVD and Blu-ray released on 25 November 2013 of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – The New Generation. Filmed at London’s O2 Arena, it features Neeson as George Herbert The Journalist in 3D holography and a cast including Marti Pellow as The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist, Donovan as Parson Nathaniel, Wicked’s Kerry Ellis as his wife Beth, Kaiser Chiefs’ front-man Ricky Wilson as The Artilleryman and Jettblack’s Will Stapleton.
Wayne’s award-winning double album was originally released by CBS Records in 1978. It has sold more than 15 million records sold worldwide.
The tour is presented by Live Nation and SJM Concerts. Tickets go on sale on Friday 22 November at 9am.