As Frodo and Sam discovered, Middle-earth quests can take longer than you’d expect. When reports first surfaced two years ago of a Lord of the Rings stage musical, producer Kevin Wallace said the show would premiere in early 2005 in London and would cost $13 million. On Tuesday, however, Wallace announced that the show would premiere next March in Toronto and would cost $22 million. Apparently, it was hard to find a theater in London that was both available and vast enough to handle the three-hour production, which will have a cast of 50. Tony-nominated director Matthew Warchus (Art) promised that the show would be so vast that the audience will be ”actually plunged into the events as they happen.”
Wallace said that Tolkien purists needn’t worry that the stage version will feature attempts to turn the often dark saga into Broadway-style razzle-dazzle. ”There will be no singing and dancing hobbits,” Wallace told Reuters. ”The music will be in a very traditional mold and draw on ethnic traditions.” It’s not clear which ethnicity he meant — Elvish? Dwarvish? Or maybe Scandinavian and Hindi, since those creating the score include Finnish group Varttina and Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams). At any rate, let’s hope Wallace changes his mind by the time the production makes it to Broadway; wouldn’t you love to see a tiny kickline of hobbits and dwarfs?