Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds returns to the stage in 2025 with The Spirit of Man Tour, which will also mark the return of its 35-foot onstage Martian war machine. This adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds remains one of the most popular musicals ever to be produced. STARBURST sat down with Wayne to discuss the new production and what the future might hold for his take on Wells’ story.
STARBURST: How excited are you to bring The Spirit of Man tour to theatres?
Jeff Wayne: I wouldn’t have been doing this for as many years as I have if it wasn’t as exhilarating as when I started with the tours in 2006. The live environment is, and I’m sure any musician or performer would say the same, the most exciting part of a person’s career. We’re all on stage during the performance; we’re not in an orchestral pit like you often get at the theatre. So it’s really most exciting. Two-and-a-half hours, and I feel like my feet never touch the floor.
The scale of the production has increased significantly in the last 20 years, hasn’t it? What will this offer to the audience that they perhaps haven’t seen before?
When I started doing this, I made a promise that we would never take The War of the Worlds out of the box and do it exactly the same way twice. There are new things technologically, and some of the show – more so in the next tour – is performed either in or over the audience with special effects and other things we do. Every production is different, and I hope we keep trying to top the previous ones because many people come back again and again.
More and more stage musicals have been adapted for the big screen in recent years – Cats, Matilda, Mean Girls. What would you say if a studio approached you and said they wanted to make a film adaptation of your show?
It has been a dream to see my musical become a big-screen production, a film for TV, or a series. The way that The War of the Worlds is structured means that it is almost like a series with episodes, even though it’s all joined together. Even our CGI, which spans the whole length of our shows, is pretty much feature film standard. Over the years, I have had a couple of approaches, but usually, it has gone the way of “Okay, we would now like to turn it into a contemporary piece set in America or somewhere else”. And I’ve resisted that. I fell in love with the dark Victorian tale. So I know where I would like to go with it, and every time we finish a tour, we put some more time and effort into trying to make it happen.
The Spirit of Man tour runs from March 28th to April 20th, 2025. You can buy tickets here.