Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation

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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation
A painting depicting the Martian fighting machines attacking London
Studio album by Jeff Wayne
Released 26 November 2012 (2012-11-26)
Recorded June 2011–October 2012
Genre Progressive rock, string orchestra
Length 1:30:13
Label Sony Music Entertainment
Producer Jeff Wayne
Jeff Wayne chronology
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus
(1992)
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation
(2012)
Singles from The New Generation
  1. "Forever Autumn"
    Released: 5 November 2012
  2. "Eve of the War"
    Released: 4 February 2013

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation is a 2012 concept album by Jeff Wayne and is a re-imagining of his 1978 concept album, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. As previously, the music format is predominantly progressive rock and string orchestra, but with synthesizers playing a more prominent role. The music is intermixed with re-voiced narration and leitmotifs to carry the story forward via rhyming melodic lyrics that express the feelings of the various characters. Due to the consistent popularity of the original album, Wayne decided to return to his score and re-create it for a new generation of audiences, as well as re-launch a live tour throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

In February 2016, the stage show opened at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End and ran until 30 April 2016.[1]

Background[edit]

Album[edit]

On 18 November 2011, Jeff Wayne announced at a press conference in London that there was to be a new release of his musical version of H. G. Wells 1898 novel, titled Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation.[2][3] As the original musical version has remained one of the biggest selling albums of all time,[4] Wayne explained that the idea was to return to it and explore H. G. Wells' characters in more detail, as well as develop the love story between the story's main character, George Herbert (the Journalist), and his fiancée Carrie. Wayne also explained that it would allow him to re-interpret his compositions with the new production techniques of today.[5] The album was released on 26 November 2012 on both CD and Vinyl.[6]

The New Generation features Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson as the Narrator, formerly played by Richard Burton.[3][7] Neeson revealed he was impressed and intimidated by the prospect of narrating and starring in Wayne's project.[8] Gary Barlow (lead singer and songwriter of the British vocal pop group Take That) is the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist, formerly voiced by Justin Hayward.[9] British singer-songwriter Alex Clare is the Voice of Humanity. Maverick Sabre, Irish-English singer-songwriter and rapper, appears on the album as Parson Nathaniel, and English soul singer, songwriter, and actress Joss Stone is his wife Beth. Kaiser Chiefs front man Ricky Wilson took on the role of the Artilleryman.[7] The Black Smoke Band once again includes Bassist Herbie Flowers and Guitarist Chris Spedding, both from the original 1978 album.[10]

Throughout mid to late 2012, tracks from The New Generation were released through various radio shows, which included all the guest artists tracks and a premier of "The Eve of the War". The new Liam Neeson hologram planned for the tour was demonstrated at the press conference with Neeson and Wayne and was also shown on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, on which an "Eve of the War" and "Forever Autumn" medley was performed with Wayne conducting.[11] In January 2013, a music video was released for the song "Forever Autumn", performed by Gary Barlow, however Barlow does not appear in the video. It stars Anna-Marie Wayne as Carrie and Neeson as the Journalist and looks further into the story of Carrie, rather than from the Journalist's point of view as heard on the album. It features both all new footage as well as footage seen on the CGI 100-foot wide screen used during the live shows.[12] The New Generation album was produced by Jeff Wayne and Damian Collier and was recorded at Olliewood Recording Studios in Hertfordshire by Gaetan Schurrer and Tom Woodstock.[13]

Tours[edit]

The production for its 2009 30th Anniversary Tour at The O2 Arena in North Greenwich, London

A live tour based on the album began on 29 November 2012 and began playing across the UK and Europe.[14] The live show, titled Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation: Alive on Stage!, includes a holographic performance of Liam Neeson, interacting with the other performers.[3][7] Ricky Wilson retains his role as the Artilleryman from the album version. Marti Pellow (lead singer of the Scottish pop group Wet Wet Wet) is the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist. British rock band Jettblack's lead vocalist Will Stapleton is the Voice of Humanity. The touring cast includes Jason Donovan (who previously played the Artilleryman on tour) as the Parson Nathaniel and West End theatre star Kerry Ellis as Beth.[15] Michael Falzon and Lily Osborne appear as new characters William Rowland and Vera May respectively, appearing in a new prologue, introduced to the tour in 2009. Falzon also plays the small role of NASA controller Jerome Marvin Krauth (voiced by Jerry Wayne) in the Epilogue Part 2, in which he is blasted upon by the fighting machine onstage behind him (the original version of Epilogue Part 2 had an abrupt ending) which concludes the show.[16][17]

Alive on Stage! also includes new content not featured on The New Generation album, such as the new prologue. A new scene opens Act 2 between The Journalist (Liam Neeson) and Carrie, his fiancee (Anna-Marie Wayne). This new piece, entitled "Distant Shores", is an exchange between the two after they have been separated and is seen onstage via holographic projections of both characters in which they express hope they may one day see each other again, speaking as though to each other, from distant shores. The show also includes effects used previously on tours including the use of pyrotechnics, now much improved, in which the audience is blasted by real heat rays, leaves fall upon the audience during Forever Autumn, and a levitation trick is used after Beth is killed during the Spirit of Man.[18]

Bassist Herbie Flowers and Guitarist Chris Spedding, both part of the original album and later the original live tour, again tour as members of The Black Smoke Band for Alive on Stage! The rest of band remain relatively unchanged from the album and previous tours, with the exception of Gordy Marshall from the album is replaced by Accy Yeats on drums. Jeff Wayne conducts The Black Smoke Band and the ULLAdubULLA Strings as he has done on tours before.[19][20] On 15 December Michael Falzon announced on Facebook, as did Kerry Ellis and Will Stapleton on Twitter, that the sold out show at the O2 Arena in London was to be filmed for DVD release. This was confirmed by the official website.[21]

Tour dates[edit]

The Final Arena Tour[edit]

In November 2013, it was confirmed that Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation would tour arenas again in late November through December 2014 for The Final Arena Tour.[23] Tickets went on sale 22 November 2013. The tour took place across the UK and the Netherlands, beginning in Sheffield on 27 November 2014 and coming to a close on 16 December 2014 in Amsterdam. Three of the guest performers were confirmed at the time of the tour announcement. Westlife's Brian McFadden played the role of the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist (played by Marti Pellow on the previous tour), Les Misérables' Carrie Hope Fletcher played Beth (Played by Kerry Ellis on the 2012 tour), and Jason Donovan reprised his role of the Parson Nathaniel. At the time, Jeff Wayne also announced that another guest had been confirmed but was yet to be announced. Later announcements confirmed Shayne Ward as the Artilleryman and Joseph Whelan as the Voice of Humanity. Other changes included adding the character of Carrie's Father (actor Nigel Barber) and lyrics to the song Life Begins Again.[24][25]

Later in the year, the final guest was announced as actor Callum O'Neill, who portrayed H.G. Wells on stage in three separate stages of his life. After the William Rowland and Vera May prologue was moved into a pre-show (with the characters performing among the audience rather than on stage), O'Neill appeared in a new prologue as a 33-year-old Wells, opening the show with a speech about 19th century England during the dying moments of 1899. He introduces himself and his work on The War of the Worlds before the on-screen introduction of the Martians. Later, just before Act II begins, O'Neill appears again as a 53-year-old Wells, discussing the end of World War I and speaking about the destructive capabilities of humankind. O'Neill appears a final time at the end of the show, just before the NASA epilogue, this time as a 79-year-old Wells, elderly and in a wheelchair. Set just after the end of World War II, he is dying, but now speaks about the extent of atrocities committed during the recent war, how human beings can, in some shapes and forms, be as destructive as the Martians had been in his novel.[26]

The Final Arena Tour ended on 16 December 2014 in Amsterdam. Speaking about the last show, Jeff 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."[27]

The Final Arena Tour dates[edit]

  • 27 November 2014, Dublin 3Arena (cancelled)
  • 27 November 2014, Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
  • 28 November 2014, Liverpool Echo Arena
  • 29 November 2014, Glasgow SSE Hydro
  • 30 November 2014, Manchester Arena
  • 2 December 2014, Nottingham Capital FM Arena
  • 3 December 2014, Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
  • 5 December 2014, Birmingham LG Arena
  • 6 December 2014, Leeds First Direct Arena
  • 7 & 8 December 2014, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
  • 10 & 11 December 2014, Bournemouth International Centre
  • 13 December 2014, London O2 Arena
  • 14 & 15 December 2014, Brighton Centre
  • 16 December 2014, Amsterdam Heineken Music Hall

DVD and cinema[edit]

Alive on Stage! at the O2 Arena was recorded and released across cinemas in the UK and Europe in April 2013.[17][21] The War of the Worlds team worked with the distribution company More2Screen, a company that brings special events to cinema.[28][29] The recorded show was well received in a series of platform digital screenings in the UK before it transitioned to home entertainment; it was released on DVD in November 2013.[30]

2016 London Theatre Production[edit]

It was announced that The War of the Worlds was to make its theatrical debut in a "re-imagined" production at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End, produced by Wayne and Bill Kenwright.[1] It ran from 8 February to 30 April 2016[1] and featured direction by Bob Thompson, an onstage orchestra conducted by Jeff Wayne and Liam Neeson as the Journalist in 3D holography. Jimmy Nail played Parson Nathaniel, Daniel Bedingfield was The Artilleryman and Heidi Range appeared on the stage as Beth. Alongside them was Michael Praed as George Herbert, Madalena Alberto playing Carrie and David Essex as The Voice Of Humanity.[31]

Critical reception[edit]

Track listing[edit]

All dialogue written by Doreen and Jerry Wayne, based upon H.G. Wells's original text.

All tracks written by Jeff Wayne except where noted.

Disc One
No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "The Eve of the War" Liam Neeson and Gary Barlow 10:13
2. "Horsell Common and The Heat Ray" Liam Neeson 12:14
3. "The Artilleryman and The Fighting Machine" Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson 12:05
4. "Forever Autumn" (Lyrics by Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass) Liam Neeson and Gary Barlow 7:54
5. "Thunder Child" (Lyrics by Gary Osborne) Liam Neeson and Alex Clare 6:13
Total length: 48:39
Disc Two
No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "The Red Weed (Part 1)" Liam Neeson 6:57
2. "The Spirit of Man" (Lyrics by Gary Osborne) Liam Neeson, Maverick Sabre, and Joss Stone 12:06
3. "The Red Weed (Part 2)" Liam Neeson and Maverick Sabre 5:19
4. "The Artilleryman Returns" Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson 3:20
5. "Brave New World" (Lyrics by Gary Osborne) Liam Neeson and Ricky Wilson 12:14
6. "Dead London (Part 1)" Liam Neeson 5:26
7. "Dead London (Part 2)" Liam Neeson 3:47
8. "Epilogue (Part 1)" Liam Neeson 3:21
9. "Epilogue (Part 2) (NASA)" Jerry Wayne and Lewis MacLeod 1:57
Total length: 54:27

Cast[edit]

Performers[edit]

Album[edit]

  • Liam Neesonspoken words (The Journalist: the narrator-protagonist)
  • Gary Barlowvocals (The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist)
  • Ricky Wilson – spoken words and vocals (The Artilleryman)
  • Maverick Sabre – spoken words and vocals (Parson Nathaniel)
  • Joss Stone – spoken words and vocals (Beth)
  • Alex Clare – vocals (The Voice of Humanity)
  • Jerry Wayne – spoken words (The Voice of NASA)
  • Lewis MacLeod – spoken words (Voice of the Martians)

Tours[edit]

  • Liam Neeson – spoken words (The Journalist) (via holographic projection and 100 ft screen)
  • Marti Pellow – vocals (The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist) (2012 tour)
  • Brian McFadden – vocals (The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Ricky Wilson – spoken words and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2012 tour)
  • Shayne Ward – spoken words and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Jason Donovan – spoken words and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (both tours)
  • Kerry Ellis – spoken words and vocals (Beth) (2012 tour)
  • Carrie Hope Fletcher – spoken words and vocals (Beth) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Will Stapleton – vocals (The Voice of Humanity) (2012 tour)
  • Joseph Whelan – vocals (The Voice of Humanity) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Anna-Marie Wayne – spoken words (Carrie: The Journalist's Fiancee) (via 100 ft screen)
  • Nigel Barber – spoken words (Carrie's Father) (via 100 ft screen) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Lewis MacLeod – spoken words (Voice of the Martians)
  • Michael Falzon – spoken words and vocals (William Rowland, Jerome Marvin Krauth of NASA, Male Understudy) (2012 tour)
  • Jonathan Vickers – spoken words and vocals (William Rowland, Jerome Marvin Krauth of NASA, Male Understudy) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Lily Osborne – spoken words and vocals (Vera May, Female Understudy) (2012 tour)
  • Callum O'Neill – spoken words (H.G. Wells age 33, 53, and 79) (2014 Farewell Thunderchild tour)

The Black Smoke Band[edit]

Album[edit]

Tours[edit]

  • Jeff Wayne – composer, conductor
  • Chris Spedding – electric guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Herbie Flowers – bass guitar
  • Tom Woodstock – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Laurie Wisefield – guitars, mandolin, autoharp, tar
  • Huw Davies – guitars, mandolin, autoharp, tar, voice box (Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Accy Yeats – drums
  • Julia Thornton – percussion, harp, keyboards
  • Olivia Jaguers – percussion, harp (Farewell Thunderchild tour)
  • Steve Turner – keyboards
  • Neil Angilley – keyboards
  • Kennedy Aitchison – keyboards
  • Thomas Gandey – keyboards (Farewell Thunderchild tour)

String Orchestra[edit]

Album[edit]

  • Littlechap Strings

Tours[edit]

  • ULLAdubULLA

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Shea, Christopher D. (20 March 2016). "'War of the Worlds' Shape-Shifts Onto the London Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds website, The Story, Chap.14.
  3. ^ a b c "Liam Neeson's hologram will narrate 'War of the Worlds' musical". Los Angeles Times. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Official Top 40 biggest selling albums of all-time". OfficialCharts.com. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "The New Generation". thewaroftheworlds.com. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds...The New Generation!". PR Newswire United Business Media. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Liam Neeson joins War of the Worlds musical as hologram". BBC News. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Neeson 'Intimidated' By War of the Worlds". PR Newswire United Business Media. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Gary Barlow sings on new War of the Worlds album". BBC News. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation: Alive On Stage (2012)". Contains Moderate Peril. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jeff Wayne's War of The Worlds - Alan Titchmarsh Show - 27.10.12". YouTube (dicka101). 27 October 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Jeff Wayne - Forever Autumn ft. Gary Barlow". YouTube (TWOTWVEVO). 16 January 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Q&A Damian Collier, Producer for Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds". Venues Today. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Tour 2012-2013 UK & Europe". Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of the War of the Worlds The New Generation - New Double Album Released By Sony Music". Metro Radio Arena. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "War of the Worlds - Dress Rehearsal". Zimbio. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds The New Generation – Alive on Stage! Customer-Programme" (PDF). More2Screen. December 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, The Final Arena Tour at The LG Arena, Birmingham, UK". Gig Junkies. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds". Bournemouth Pavilion. 13 December 2012. Archived from the original on 21 November 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds". LiveNation. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  21. ^ a b "TWOTW comes to Cinema!". Ollie Record Productions. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "Marti Pellow cancels stage shows in Germany". Daily Express. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds: The Final Arena Tour". SeatWave. December 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  24. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds Final Arena Tour (Official Press Release)". TheWaroftheWorlds.com. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "The War of the Worlds - The Final Arena Tour at The O2 Arena on Saturday 13th Dec 2014". allgigs.co.uk. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  26. ^ McIver, Brian (30 October 2014). "Scots actor Callum O'Neill ages 50 years every night to wage War of the Worlds on the big stage". DailyRecord.co.uk. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  27. ^ "Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds - The Final Arena Tour". LiveNation.co.uk. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds Alive on Stage! The New Generation". Sarah Wilby Creative Publicity. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "The War of the Worlds Alive on Stage! The New Generation". More2Screen. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  30. ^ "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – Alive on Stage! The New Generation". Screen Daily. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  31. ^ Porteous, Jacob (21 January 2016). "Casting Announced For Jeff Wayne's Musical Phenomenon The War Of The Worlds With Liam Neeson In 3D Hologram". London Theatre Direct. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 

External links[edit]