Strictly's Kevin Clifton and Steps star Claire Richards join cast of Jeff Wayne's The War Of The Worlds — The Life Begins Again Tour
The first stars have been announced for the return of iconic musical The War Of The Worlds to Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.
Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds — The Life Begins Again Tour is coming to Nottingham on March 23 next year.
It will feature Claire Richards, of pop group Steps, in the role of Beth, The Parson’s Wife, and Strictly champion Kevin Clifton as The Artilleryman.
Once again, Liam Neeson will appear in 3D holography as The Journalist.
Based on HG Wells’ dark Victorian tale, the multi-award-winning spectacular has been touring for 16 years, but remains as popular as ever.
It tells the story of a martian invasion of Earth and the conflict that followed.
The story is told to an iconic musical score and spectacular special effects, including the three-tonne, 30ft tall martian fighting machine firing real-flame heat rays at the audience.
Claire Richards, who makes her debut as Beth, The Parson’s Wife, has enjoyed huge success with Steps, including three multi-platinum albums.
She said: “I am so thrilled to be joining the cast of Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds for the 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.”
Strictly and West End star Star Kevin Clifton will debut as The Artilleryman, having performed in the West End and across the UK, in Rock Of Ages, Dirty Dancing The Musical and The Wedding Singer.
But he is best known as a professional dancer on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, appearing in four consecutive finals before winning it with Stacey Dooley.
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 on-stage orchestra and special effects. Life Begins Again!”
Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds double album, which inspired the stage show, was originally released in 1978 featuring Richard Burton,the Moody Blues Justin Hayward, David Essex, and Julie Covington.
It has sold more than 16m records and achieved two international hit singles in Forever Autumn and the instantly-recognisable The Eve Of The War.
The War Of The Worlds was due to be performed at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena last year, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Jeff Wayne said the title of the new production — The Life Begins Again Tour — was apt.
He said: “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!
“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.”