Casting Complete for London's Lord of the Rings

News   Casting Complete for London's Lord of the Rings
The full cast has been announced for the London transfer of the £12.5 million stage adaptation of Lord of the Rings. The Matthew Warchus –directed musical spectacular opens at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on June 19 following previews that begin May 9.

Previously announced stars include Olivier Award winner Laura Michelle Kelley (Mary Poppins), who will play Galadriel; and James Loye and Peter Howe, who originated the roles of Hobbits Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, respectively, in the Toronto world premiere.

The London version, which at three hours will be 40 minutes shorter than the Toronto production, will see RSC actor Malcolm Storry, most recently seen at the National in The Royal Hunt for the Sun, take on the role of Gandalf.

Michael Therriault will reprise his Dora Award-winning Toronto performance as Gollum, Jerome Pradon (Les Misérables) will play Aragorn, Richard Henders (Caroline, or Change in London) will play Merry, and Owen Sharpe will re-create Pippin, the role he originated in Toronto. Michael Rouse (The Boyfriend) will play Legolas, Sévan Stephan (Guys and Dolls) will be Gimli, Steven Miller will play Boromir and Rosalie Craig will take on Arwen.

Other members of the 50-strong cast include Andrew Jarvis (Elrond), Terence Frisch (Bilbo), Tim Morgan (Théoden) and Kirsty Malpass (Rosie).

The J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired work received its premiere at Toronto’s 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre on March 23, 2006. 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 version 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.

Book and lyrics are by Shaun McKenna and 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 version of the trilogy amounted to nine hours of cinema, the London version will run at three hours.

Of the stage adaptation, Warchus said, "We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of musical theatre, 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 never previously seen on this scale. 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.”

For more on Lord of the Rings, which is produced in London by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz, call (0)870 890 6002.

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