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Jeff Kolb

The Lord of the Rings: The MUSICAL

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Story here.

Or here:

A much-anticipated musical based on "The Lord of the Rings" will have its world premiere in Toronto next year, the show's producers announced Tuesday.

The $22 million show will open in March 2006 at the Princess of Wales Theatre with a largely Canadian cast, producer Kevin Wallace said.

Wallace had hoped to open the show in London in the fall, but no theater large enough to accommodate the technically complex production was available. The musical is now slated to open in London in autumn 2006.

Published 50 years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien's mystical adventure trilogy has been discovered by a new generation through Peter Jackson's Academy Award-winning trio of films, which have grossed more than $3 billion around the world.

The three-hour stage adaptation will feature book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna ("Lautrec," "Maddie") and Matthew Warchus (Tony nominated director of "Art" and "True West"), and music by A.R. Rahman ("Bombay Dreams") and Finnish group Varttina with Christopher Nightingale.

Warchus said the show, which has a cast of 50, would combine words, music, physical theater and spectacle to create a production in which the audience is "actually plunged into the events as they happen."

"We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of musical theater, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien's material," he said.

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Being new here, you folks won't know what a raging Tolkien fan I am...so...I'm a raging Tolkien fan. I also really love the Jackson films.

eek.gif I don't know about anybody else, but I'm very dubious about a musical. Does anybody else have a vision of a singing flaming eyeball? I'm also having a vision of Aragorn singing "This is My Country!"...

Neb

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Perhaps, for Merry and Pippin and the Ents, the writers can recycle the song "I Talk to the Trees" from Paint Your Wagon. pinch.gif

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I am so looking forward to this. The music in a musical is a way for characters' inner beings to shine forth clearly. If done well, we could look forward to powerful songs from Sam and Aragorn, and some twisted songs from Frodo and Gollum. Man, it's hard to see how anyone who has seen Les Miserables or The Phantom of the Opera would think a musical LOTR would necessarily be a chirpy thing.

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Does anybody else have a vision of a singing flaming eyeball?

Welcome Neb, and if you're as funny as your first post...double welcomes! That absolutely cracked me up.

I'm of the opinion that there are many stories that can't be sucessfully told on stage. Perhaps I'm cranky or just not very creative, or maybe I've simply seen too many bad productions. The transformation of the LOTR book to LOTR films was done in a way that maintained the essential storyline/characters/ethos, and it basically worked. But how does one take the book and transform it into a vehicle that can operate in the real-time and real-space limitations of the stage? I think the only option is to drop the story as a whole and make something essentially new out of a subset of the fragements. This could possibly work. My concern is that the producers will attempt to put the Lord of the Rings on stage and it won't fit.

Another concern (which is typical for Broadway and the like) is that the producers will attempt to recreate the scope and the granduer of the book/film with effects and with music, rather than using outstanding acting and writing to create the space. I find that music and, especially, effects tend to be rather blunt and limited tools in the theatre. On the other hand, if the show were to focus on one (or a few) character(s) or storyline(s), even at the cost of serious re-writing, I think the potential for sometime worthwhile could be significant.

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I'm sure a very creative team could do something lovely with this, and I wish them all the best. My initial reaction is the same as the reaction I had when I heard about the musical of "Titanic" blink.gif

I doubt it will be "chirpy" (ugh, I hope not...don't get me started on the Rankin/Bass version of "The Hobbit"), but I also don't see how they can really do it justice unless we're talking a Wagnerian four hours a night for five nights kind of ordeal. Les Mis crams a lot into one evening and seems to do so in a coherent fashion: I love the songs but still find the story as a whole depressing, as opposed to Phantom which is dark but oh so womantic (and I'm so familiar w/ the story that I can find the happiness in the real ending that the films and musical avoid entirely, probably because of the complexity).

I love the "I Talk to the Trees" idea! Additional song concepts: Gollum and "I love Trash!", Arwen and "Can't Help Lovin that Man o' Mine", Eowyn and "It's My Party (and I'll Cry if I Want to!)", and Gandalf (or better yet, Saruman) with "Bibbidi bobbidi boo!".

Neb

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A few friends and I had once planned to do a spoof musical of LotR. No original music of course...all parodies. I think we had Sauron singing Shania Twain's "Getcha Good" at one point...and the requisite soft-shoe number - "Fellowship" by Cole Porter...

"If you're ever lost in Bree, call on me!

If you ever find an Orc, I'll kill the dork!

If you ever meet a Balrog inside a cave, I'll be brave!"

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De-lurking for a second to say I saw LOTR this past week. It is a very fast telling of the story, while trying to tell the whole story. In <4 hours they go through the whole story from beginning to end, staying relatively faithful to the book, ( they even show the scouring of the shire). One of the weaknesses however is that while it covers the whole story, it does not do so in detail. Many significant events, are shown briefly and seem rushed i.e. The scene between Eowyn and the Witch-king is thrown in at the last second without any dramatic buildup.

Visually it is quite impressive, the balrog, lothlorien (sp?), shelob, the shire, ringwraiths, the ents, all look very impressive and were brought to life in a very creative manner. The stage was also very interesting as it could slowly revolve , which was used creativley in to give the effect of travelling long distances . It also consisted of concentric circles that could change height to the extent that there could be 4-5 different levels at once. The visuals were probably the strongest part of the musical.

The acting was hit and miss. Gollum was played very well (especially considering Andy Serkis performance) .

The weakest part was probably the music (ironically). There were only 1 or 2 memorable songs. Compared to the movie the music does not add any depth.

It's certainly an interesting experience but not neccessarily a great retelling of the story.

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I am sad that the two mock verses I wrote when news of this show first hit don't seem to be on the board.

Fortunately, I cross-posted them somewhere else. Here they are, in all their dubious glory. (Note: I played very, very fast and loose with the meter, but it is possible to sing these. Just not very well.)

BILBO:

There's a bright, golden haze on the Shire

There's a bright, golden haze on the Shire.

The pipe-weed's as high as an oliphant's eye

And my Ring's in my pocket till the day that I die...

Oh, what a beautiful mornin'

To strike out Middle-earth to roam.

I've got a beautiful feelin'

The Sackville-Bagginses won't get my home.

GANDALF:

I am the very model of a Middle-earth wizard supreme.

I've long grey beard, and staff in hand, and pointed hat, and eyesight keen.

I know the kings of Rohan, and what happened at the White Council

(The Necromancer was expelled for actions problematical!).

I'm very well acquainted, too, with magic and the wizard biz.

I don't know Bilbo's ring, but I know where to find out what it is.

In Minas Tirith's archives I'll research the Ring and come to grips

With where the Ring came from and if there will be an apocalypse!

ALL:

With where the Ring came from, etc....

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Ah, thank you, SDG. They're a hit with me, at least.

I am sad that the two mock verses I wrote when news of this show first hit don't seem to be on the board.

Fortunately, I cross-posted them somewhere else. Here they are, in all their dubious glory. (Note: I played very, very fast and loose with the meter, but it is possible to sing these. Just not very well.)

BILBO:

There's a bright, golden haze on the Shire

There's a bright, golden haze on the Shire.

The pipe-weed's as high as an oliphant's eye

And my Ring's in my pocket till the day that I die...

Oh, what a beautiful mornin'

To strike out Middle-earth to roam.

I've got a beautiful feelin'

The Sackville-Bagginses won't get my home.

GANDALF:

I am the very model of a Middle-earth wizard supreme.

I've long grey beard, and staff in hand, and pointed hat, and eyesight keen.

I know the kings of Rohan, and what happened at the White Council

(The Necromancer was expelled for actions problematical!).

I'm very well acquainted, too, with magic and the wizard biz.

I don't know Bilbo's ring, but I know where to find out what it is.

In Minas Tirith's archives I'll research the Ring and come to grips

With where the Ring came from and if there will be an apocalypse!

ALL:

With where the Ring came from, etc....

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Did you catch the link to Varttina's site in one of my earlier posts? They're a good band.

I know I'm being an old fogey, but somehow the idea of a musical adaption of the books doesn't work for me (in the abstract). Maybe someone else will adapt Beowulf next, with a dancing Grendel?! ;-)

When I was in college, I wrote "Glass Menagerie, The Musical." It has a tap number that Laura does with her leg brace.

"Think about the sun, Pippin....Pippin....think about your life!"

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It's finally coming to London this summer. Apparently it was originally planned to come here last Autumn. I didn't hear where it will be but I would have thought it would need the technical capabilities of the National Theatre.

The BBC has a bit of video.

I'll not be going.

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