Jeff Wayne's musical The War of the Worlds Leeds tour dates announced - starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Kevin Clifton and Steps singer Claire Richards
Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds - Alive on Stage! is coming to Leeds in 2022.
The Life Begins Again Tour is set to come to Leeds First Direct Arena on April 3, 2022.
It will feature Steps and stage star Claire Richards as The Parson’s Wife and Strictly and West End star Kevin Clifton will debut as The Artilleryman.
Jeff Wayne will conduct the War of the Worlds show which will include a three tonne and 30 foot tall Martian fighting machine firing real-flame heat rays at the audience.
There will be a giant bridge from the lip of the stage out over the audience and three panoramic screens featuring CGI and video content.
Jeff said: "Why are we calling this The Life Begins Again Tour? It’s certainly a name appropriate for the times we have been living through since the first lockdown in 2020, caused by the pandemic.
"But ironically, the title comes from a musical phrase in my original 1978 double-album just as Humanity learns that the Martians, with all their superior intelligence, incredible machines and weaponry, hadn’t foreseen one particular thing - the common cold, and the bacteria that caused it.
"And in a sneeze, they were gone!
"Now from all over Britain, mankind began returning to their homes. Life was beginning again.
"By 2014 I decided that original musical phrase should be expanded into a full song, performed by all the characters we have met along the way, and it has appeared in every tour and production since.
"HG Wells conceived his story’s ending with Human bacteria defeating the invading alien force.
"But how could he have possibly known, that over 120 years later, a virus born on Earth, would appear and reap havoc on innocent people of all ages, colour and ethnicities, world-wide.
"Let us hope, that like HG's Martians, this horrible disease is being truly defeated, as life will begin again."
Claire, who has three multi-platinum albums and has had seven sold out arena tours, said: "I am so thrilled to be joining the cast of Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds for their 2022 Arena tour.
"To be a part of such an iconic production is so exciting, and I'm really looking forward to getting back out on the road next year.”
Kevin has thrilled audiences in the West End and across the UK, starring in Rock of Ages, Dirty Dancing the Musical and The Wedding Singer.
He is best known as a Pro Dancer on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing being the only pro dancer to ever dance in four consecutive finals.
Kevin said “I am unbelievably excited to be joining the cast of Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds.
"In 2022 this particular story could not be more relevant.
"After so long without live performance, what better experience could there be than this spectacular arena production complete with a full live onstage orchestra and special effects.
"'Life Begins Again!’ "
The musical is based on HG Wells’ dark Victorian tale and will mark 16 years of touring in 2022.
The final cast members are yet to be announced.
Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds - summary:
"Jeff Wayne's double album was originally released by CBS Records in 1978 featuring Richard Burton, the Moody Blues Justin Hayward, David Essex, Julie Covington.
"It has enjoyed huge success and critical acclaim across the globe with over 16 million records sold and spending over 330 weeks in the UK Album Charts (to date) plus achieving two International hit singles - 'Forever Autumn' and 'The Eve of The War'.
"It has been Top 10 in 22 countries and Number 1 in 11 of them. In 2012 the New Generation double album was released and featured an expanded story-line with a new cast including: Liam Neeson, Take That’s Gary Barlow, Joss Stone and Kaiser Chief's Ricky Wilson..
"Jeff’s Musical Version has also won two prestigious UK Ivor Novello Awards, the US Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy (the judges included Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg), as well as winning for Jeff, Classic Rock's 'Showman of The Year’ Award following the debut arena tour in 2006.
"Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of ‘The War of The Worlds’ has grown into a true classic, acquiring new generations of devoted followers since its original release.
"It has now been seen in London’s West End, a chart-topping 5-hour Audible Audiobook featuring Michael Sheen, Taron Edgeton and Theo James, and in 2019 opened at London’s Old Metal Exchange Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience and winning the THEA Award, the ‘Oscar’ of the interactive world.
"Now Covid compliant, it is re-opening again from May 22."