Following the final performance of the The Producers at the venue on Jan. 6, 2007, Lord of the Rings will receive its British and European premiere on June 19. Previews start May 9.
The J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired show received its premiere at Toronto’s 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre on March 23. Matthew Warchus’ $27 million (Canadian), three-act production is the first stage adaptation of the literary epic and follows the hugely successful film trilogy.
The London opening arrives two years after the 2005 70th anniversary of Tolkien starting the trilogy, and the 50th anniversary since the works — “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King” — were published.
Casting will commence this summer, but it has been confirmed that British actor James Loye, who has been performing the role since the Toronto production opened, will play Frodo Baggins.
Book and lyrics are by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus with music supplied by A.R. Rahman and Finnish band Värttinä with Christopher Nightingale. The show is choreographed by Peter Darling with set and costume design by Rob Howell. While Peter Jackson’s movie versions of the trilogy amounted to nine hours of cinema, Warchus’s production runs at three hours.
“We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of musical theatre,” said the director, “but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien’s material. As a result, we will be presenting a hybrid of text, physical theatre, music and spectacle. To read the novel is to experience the events of Middle-earth in the mind’s eye; only in the theatre are we actually plunged into the events as they happen. The environment surrounds us. We participate. We are in Middle-earth.”
The show is produced by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz and tickets are available to the public from July 2. For more on Lord of the Rings call (0)870 890 6002.