Based on the classic science fiction story by HG Wells, Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds will be at the Dominion Theatre, London, from 8th February – 9th April 2016. This West End debut of the multi-award winning music phenomenon will be conducted by Jeff Wayne himself featuring The Black Smoke Band and the ULLAdubULLA strings.We’ve put together 10 things that you may not know about the history and production of The War of the Worlds:

  1. 1

    HG Wells’ novel, first published in 1898, was the prototype for all science fiction. The War of the Worlds describes an invasion of Earth by Martians with superior intelligence, incredible machines and the intention to conquer humanity. The novel opened up a door into the future to take readers away from the social constraints of 19th Century England. HG Wells shocked many people with his futuristic thinking that exposed the flaws in Victorian society.

  2. 2

    Over 77 years ago, on the 30th October 1938, Orson Welles’ radio drama adaptation of HG Wells’ novel aired, causing mass panic amongst listeners who mistook it for a genuine news broadcast.

  3. 3

    The day after the radio broadcast, Orson Welles was invited to a press conference where he delivered a public apology for causing panic. You can listen to the original radio drama here:

  4. 4

    Steven Spielberg owns one of the last copies of Orson Welles’ radio script, which he bought at an auction. He decided against producing the film when Independence Day was released in 1996 but recruited Tom Cruise for the blockbuster hit in 2005.

  5. 5

    During the filming of the War of the Worlds’ underwater scenes (where the ferry capsizes) Steven Spielberg played a joke on Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning by playing the music from his 1975 film Jaws through huge underwater speakers.

  6. 6

    It took 9 months for Jeff Wayne to persuade H.G. Wells’ family to allow him the rights to the novel in order to make his famous synth-opera.

  7. 7

    The musical version of The War of the Worlds retells the story by HG Wells. It uses narration and leitmotifs to carry the story and rhyming melodic lyrics to express the feelings of the various characters. The album remains a bestseller and has sold millions of records around the world.

  8. 8

    Wayne’s War of the Worlds double album was originally released by CBS Records in 1978. It has been hugely successful and enjoyed critical acclaim across the globe. The album has been Number 1 in 11 countries and in the Top 10 in 22 countries.

  9. 9

    The album won two Ivor Novello Awards (Honouring Excellence in Music Writing) and was voted The Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy by judges Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Alfred Hitchcock.

  10. 10

    The score is played live and will be conducted on stage by Jeff Wayne. The show will include new music – as well as video walls, the iconic Martian Fighting Machine, special effects and Liam Neeson in 3D holography as The Journalist.

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