Actor Michael Sheen is set to face a fleet of invading Martians in a new musical production of The War Of The Worlds.
The Frost/Nixon star will be joined by Kingsman’s Taron Egerton, The Divergent Series’ Theo James and Bottom’s Adrian Edmondson in the new Audible drama, complete with an original score from Jeff Wayne.
And yes, that’s the same Jeff Wayne behind the 1978 classic concept album based on the original HG Wells story, a record that has spent over 330 weeks in the UK album charts. Wayne himself is again at the heart of the project, directing, producing and composing the musical drama.
“Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds album has held a special place in my life since I first heard it at age 12,” said Sheen, who will play journalist George Herbert, a character voiced by Richard Burton in the 1978 album.
“Every thrilling note of music and heart-stopping word of the story feels like a part of me now. So, to be asked to join Jeff for this new and brilliant adaptation of his iconic work is quite literally a dream come true for me.”
Michael Sheen and Jeff Wayne in the studio (Audible)
Sheen first crossed paths with Wayne when the Welsh actor was guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today show in 2015, inviting the composer on air to discuss The War of the Worlds.
“I didn’t know until then, but he had enjoyed my musical version of The War Of The Worlds from a young boy and he wouldn’t have known before we spoke, how much I had admired a number of his performances from his illustrious and varied career, which have always stayed with me – they’re defining, iconic,” said Wayne.
The new musical drama is the latest in a long line of takes on HG Wells’ masterpiece telling the story of Martians invading 19th century Britain. The original book, first published in 1898, was followed by Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio broadcast, which some listeners mistook for a genuine news bulletin.
Modern audiences will know the story from Steven Spielberg’s Tom Cruise-fronted 2005 blockbuster, but the BBC is currently producing a War of the Worlds period TV series starring Eleanor Tomlinson and Rafe Spall.
Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds: The Musical Drama is available to pre-order now (one credit for Audible members, £19.99 for non-members or free with Audible’s 30-day trial)