As regular readers may be aware, this morning, I was very kindly invited along to the Press Launch for Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds – The New Generation!
To say that I was jolly excited this morning would be something of an understatement!
Simon Mayo was on hand to chair the conference, along with Jeff Wayne, and the brand new Narrator (George Herbert), played by LIAM NEESON!
Whilst I already knew about the tour dates, I had deliberately shied away from any information as to the new star that was being added to the production, as I wanted to get maximum impact from the day. All that I can say is that Liam is a FANTASTIC choice for the new Narrator, and that he is probably the only person alive today who could successfully take over the role from Richard Burton – absolutely LOVE Liam’s voice!
With The New Generation, we are promised a lot more in the way of special effects, technology and a ‘re-exploration’ of the original work. From his quote below, you can ascertain why the need existed for the role to be recast, and to be honest, as a fan, I can fully support this notion, and especially welcome the addition of deeper story lines:
“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 and the development of the love story between George and his fiancée Carrie (played by Anna-Marie Wayne). 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.”
We were also treated to a sample of the holographics that have been recorded for the touring production, and I have to say that they were very impressive. Whilst the holographic head for Richard Burton was a technical feat at the time, I did feel that it was time for this to move on slightly, and with the new holographics that are being used (which includes a full body hologram, interacting with the cast (a world ‘first’ in live entertainment), along with an 11 foot high holographic head, and within the 2 hour CGI film, itself projected onto a 100 foot wide ‘animation wall’), I am very excited to see the technical aspects of this show going into motion.
Of course, one of the most visually striking features of the production is the Martian. Whilst none were (thankfully) running rampant in the conference, we are assured that there will be a “3 tonne, 35-foot tall Martian, firing real flame heat rays at the audience”. There will also be a levitation, and a Martian Fighting Machine will also ‘incinerate’ a cast member – which is cheery!
We were played the end sequence to the CGI section and through that we heard some of The Eve Of The War – for those purists who are worried about a reinvention of the score, I don’t think there is anything to worry about here – it actually really came alive, and I thoroughly loved it! It was VERY hard not to stand up and dance along! I am very excited for the Double Album release that is coming in June 2012, to support this ‘re-exploration’.
The rest of the cast is yet to be announced, and are being held back until 2012, however, already I am super-excited for this new production!
A list of tour dates appears below, in addition to ticket prices for the UK and the like.
Tickets go on general sale on Friday 25th November, at 9am.
|Thurs 29 Nov||DUBLIN 02 ARENA|
|Sat 1 Dec||LIVERPOOL ECHO ARENA|
|Sun 2 Dec||CARDIFF MOTORPOINT ARENA|
|Tue 4 Dec||NOTTINGHAM CAPTIAL FM ARENA|
|Thur 6 Dec||LONDON WEMBLEY ARENA|
|Fri 7 Dec||BIRMINGHAM NIA|
|Sat 8 Dec||MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS ARENA|
|Sun 9 Dec||SHEFFIELD MOTORPOINT ARENA|
|Mon 10 Dec||NEWCASTLE METRO RADIO ARENA|
|Tues 11 Dec||GLASGOW SECC|
|Thur 13 Dec||BOURNEMOUTH BIC|
|Sat 15 Dec||LONDON O2 ARENA|
|Sun 16 Dec||BRIGHTON BRIGHTON CENTRE|
UK Ticket Prices (all of which are subject to additional booking fee):
£62.50 / £52.50 / £42.50 LONDON
£62.50 / £42.50 REGIONAL
|Wed 19 Dec||ROTTERDAM AHOY ARENA|
|Sat 22 Dec||LISBON PAVILHO ATLANTICO ARENA|
|Thurs 3 Jan||HAMBURG ARENA|
|Fri 4 Jan||OBERHAUSEN ARENA|
|Sat 5 Jan||BERLIN 02 ARENA|
|Mon 7 Jan||NURNBERG ARENA|
|Tues 8 Jan||MUNICH ARENA|
|Thurs 10 Jan||GDANSK ARENA|