Ricky Wilson will make his stage debut in a new production of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds, which is set to tour the UK and Europe towards the end of 2012 and into 2013. The Kaiser Chiefs ' frontman will play The Artilleryman in an updated version of the classic 1978 musical; now called Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of the War Of The Worlds: The New Generation. Also joining Wilson will be Wicked's Kerry Ellis, who will play Beth. The first actor who was announced in November 2011 was Liam Neeson, who will play The Narrator, a role previously held by the late Richard Burton.
The role of The Artilleryman, played in the 1978 version by David Essex, will be something of a challenge from Wilson, who has just finished a Kaiser Chiefs world tour. He has only recently broken the news to his fans on Twitter, announcing: 'I'm excited to let you know that i'm in the new War Of The Worlds album with Liam Neeson. #ulla.' When a fan asked if he would only be doing the UK shows, he replied back: 'i'm doing the flipping lot!'
As literature fans will know, War of the Worlds was originally published as a novel by H.G. Wells in 1898. Since then, it has remained hugely popular and spawned a number of radio adaptations, including a famous broadcast in 1938, narrated by Orson Welles. The programme was misinterpreted by bewildered listeners, who really thought that an alien invasion was in progress. More recently, a film adaptation was released in 2005, starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning and directed by Steven Spielberg.