L'événement culturel de l'été à Bruxelles!
David Cassidy took over as headliner in 1997, but only after he requested that he be given creative control. Dissatisfied with the show's original loose and free-flowing storyline, Cassidy gave EFX a major over-haul. Bill Wray was brought in, and together with Cassidy, the plot was rewritten and about half of the original songs were either cut or replaced.
Tonight was cut from performances because Cassidy felt it was "too sad" for the audiences to handle. It was included on the soundtrack as a Bonus track; however, it was erroneously labeled as having been "inspired by the Houdini Scene in EFX" instead of being credited as part of the original set-list.
Differences Between the 1995 and 1997 Soundtracks. Merlin Ballet, the reprise of The Magic That Surrounds You, and the instrumental track Morgana's Arrival were omitted from the new recording.
Nexus was replaced by the instrumental Master's Theme, and H.G. Wells' song Counting Up to Twenty, was replaced by River in Time.
The pre-and-post-show songs Somewhere in Time and Open Your Eyes were cut from the 1997 production. Tonight was also cut from performances, but is included as a Bonus Track on the 1997 soundtrack.
Two numbers from the original 1995 production, The Greatest Showman in the Universe and The Stick Dance, are included on the David Cassidy soundtrack and are performed by the 1997 cast.
Other new material added by Cassidy include the songs Break-Out and parts one and two of Let it Shine.
Due to the character of The EFX Master being cut from the show, the title song is now performed by The Four Masters and David Cassidy.
Two of the original songs were completely rewritten: The Intergalactic Circus of Wonders and the finale dance music. Circus became a rap performed by Cassidy and the group One Spirit, while the finale featured a more driving, percussion-heavy sound. These new versions are virtually unrecognizable from the originals.
The casting of EFX also underwent changes. The EFX Master was cut almost completely. All that remained of the character was a giant holographic projection of his face that appeared briefly at the beginning of the show. The Masters of Magic, Laughter, Spirit, and Time became the main characters of the world of EFX, and are responsible for leading the audience through the show. The lead role written for Cassidy was that of a Bus Boy who's brought into the world of EFX by the four Masters, and it's his story that the audience witnesses.
Former cast members Tina Walsh and Lisa Geist did not return for the 1997 version of the show. Geist's role as Young King Arthur was cut to allow Cassidy to play an older version of the character, while Walsh's roles as Morgana and Bess Houdini were divided and given to Amelia Prentice-Keene and Satomi Hofmann, respectively.
Other casting changes included bringing in Sal Salangsang to perform a thirty-minute comedic pre-show, and casting Paul May as not only The Master of Time, but the lead understudy to David Cassidy and the other three Masters.
While most of the initial technical issues that plagued EFX's original run and forced Michael Crawford to leave his contract early had been ironed out by 1997, the show was still not without risk. The five-lead-roles-in-one were still highly physically demanding, causing frequent exhaustion, and multiple issues with trap-door exits not only aggravated pre-existing injuries, but resulted in new leg and back injuries for David Cassidy. As a result, Cassidy chose not to renew his contract, and in 1999, he left the show.