Saturday, February 04, 2006

No Dancing Hobbits For Musical "Lord Of The Rings"

On February 4 the curtain rises at the Princess Of Wales theatre, for the first Toronto preview of the "Lord of the Rings" stage musical.

Based on the books of author J.R.R. Tolkien, the production will offer musical traditions including works by Finnish group Varttina and Indian composer A.R. Rahman.

"In terms of spectacle and visual impact, it is as big as a Vegas show," producer Kevin Wallace said.

"It's as beautiful as what you'd expect to see in three-dimensional art".

Wallace is noted as an in-house producer with Andrew Lloyd Webber's London-based The Really Useful Group.

"We've taken Tolkien and found what is appropriate in our art form of theater and applied it to the story," he said.

Premise follows 'Frodo Baggins' and his quest to save 'Middle-earth' by destroying the 'Ring of Power'.

Following previews, the production will receive a March 23 world premiere.

The show features a 55-member cast in three acts, running more than three hours.

"It's not a singing, dancing hobbit show," Wallace said.

"The music is completely in tune, moment to moment, with the story in Tolkien. It's almost as if it's injected right into your bloodstream."

Initially budgeted for C$27 million, the production has netted C$15 million in advance sales.

"You have to believe in the jeopardy of the story - the power of darkness and power of the light," said Wallace.

"The underlying principle is you have to believe in the power of the ring".