Beginning on November 5, an open lot several blocks from Berlin's Reichstag building will be transformed into Middle Earth. This will be the name of an 1800-seat circus tent in which Herr der Ringe -- a new musical version of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy -- will be performed.
Composer and stage director Bernd Stromberger will present a mixture of musical and circus in a lavish setting: his cast of 45, including 8 acrobatic dwarfs, will play in a forest-like environment complete with a fire-spitting volcano, a water slide and 25-meter-long hanging bridges. The use of special scents is also planned to heighten the illusion of Tolkien's mythical Middle Earth.
Stromberger's 140-minute version will also include elements taken from Tolkien's book The Hobbit.
A run of two to three years is planned by investor Elmar Bohme. He has stated that even if the house is only half-full, the production costs of 18 million dollars can be recuperated in a four year run.
--By Scott Lawton