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Lord of the Rings world premiere confirmed

Story by Jack Foley

LORD of the Rings will receive its world premiere at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto on March 23, 2006. And, if all goes to plan, it will open in London the following year - in March 2007.

The three act play will combine the key issues from all three books and is not a musical as such but, as producer Kevin Wallace explained, "a blend of play and musical and spectacular design." He also reaffirmed that "There will be no singing dancing hobbits."

(Buy tickets for Lord of the Rings in Toronto)

Previously Posted: British Tolkien fans will be disappointed by the news that the planned musical version of Lord of the Rings will now premiere in Toronto instead of London.

The decision was inevitable after it was discovered that all three West End theatres with sufficient capacity were booked. The £11.5 m show is not now expected in the capital before December 2006, nine months after it opens in Canada.

But, according to producer Kevin Wallace, it will be 'worth waiting for. It will be like nothing you have ever seen before'.

And he added: "Toronto really wanted this premiere. The Tolkien books and films are hugely popular in Canada."

He hopes the excitement generated across the Atlantic 'will create an even bigger buzz by the time we open in London'.

Although London has temporarily lost out to Toronto, it's possible that up to five British actors will join the cast under a deal struck with Canadian Actors' Equity. Auditions begin this week.

Music for Lord of the Rings is by Bollywood composer, AR Rahman, the man behind Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bollywood Dreams, in conjunction with Finnish group, Varttina.

But as Wallace explained: "There will be no singing and dancing Hobbits. The music will be in a very traditional mould and draw on ethnic traditions."

Britain's Matthew Warchus (Art) will direct.



PREVIOUSLY POSTED: FRODO has yet to finish his cinematic quest to destroy the 'one ring to rule them all', and yet plans are afoot to recapture the epic journey on the London stage.

According to producer, Kevin Wallace, a musical version of JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which will cost in excess of £8 million, is planned for London's West End - in 2005.

The lavish production, which will be looking to cash in on the success of Peter Jackson's movie trilogy, 'will be like nothing the West End has ever seen before', according to Wallace, who said that the search for a perfect Frodo would begin in earnest.

"We are setting out to re-create Tolkien's fantasy world on the stage and it will have a real sense of wonder and awe for the audience," added Wallace, in an interview with the BBC.

If successful (and sceptics would argue that 2005 is a long way off), The Lord of the Rings would become the most expensive production in the West End - some £1.5 million more than the current most expensive, Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang.

But Wallace insists that in order to do justice to Tolkien's vision, 'you have to pull out all the stops'.

If successful, the producers would then take the show around the world, including an obvious stint on Broadway.

And while the cast has yet to be found, Matthew Warchus has been named as director. He has previously worked on Tell Me On A Sunday and Our House.

The project has been in development for 18 months and casting is due to begin next Spring - providing plenty of time for cold feet from financial backers.

However, with the release of the final part of the movie trilogy - The Return of the King - taking place on December 17 (world-wide), Rings-mania could help to ensure that the West End production is a massive success.

It remains to be seen, however, which part of the trilogy Wallace intends to spend most time on - particularly as Jackson's movies, played back-to-back, would clock in at a bum-numbing nine-plus hours.

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