Theatre Thursdays: The LotR musical lives again!

Lord_of_the_Rings_musical_logoToday I have exciting news! The musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings will soon play again! If you haven’t heard of this musical, I understand. It premiered for previews in Toronto in 2007, was edited and moved to London where it ran for a shaky year, and hasn’t really been talked about since then.

I was very interested in seeing this show, but since it never came to America I was unable to do so. As such, I was ecstatic when playbill.com broke the news that the show will be launching a world tour in 2015!

There aren’t many details just yet, but according to the article, the show will be re-worked to accommodate various theaters. This is somewhat disappointing because the incredible stagecraft of the original was one of the main draws for me.

In this collection of press reels from the London production, you can see just how impressive the presentation was and hopefully understand how desperately I want to see it. While I’m never one to support spectacle over story, I already know that the story is strong and really, can you blame me for being just a little shallow in this case? Just look at how impressive that production is! This isn’t spectacle for spectacle’s sake; this is an awe-inspiring melding of so many different artistic expressions between the puppetry, acrobatics, set construction, etc. that I feel like I owe it to myself as a lover of the arts to see it.

If that sounds a bit dramatic, well, I am a theatre geek after all.

I must admit, however, that I do have a (somewhat) practical mind and I can’t expect that a production so massive could tour without some re-design. Not only do the theaters themselves have different specifications which need to be taken into consideration, but the sheer cost of transporting, installing, deconstructing, and then transporting again would be astronomical for such a show.

This multi-tiered, mechanically elevated set must be a bear to try to travel

This multi-tiered, mechanically elevated set must be a bear to try to travel.

That being said, the fact that this is a World Tour gives me hope that they’ll be able to pull off just as impressive a presentation as the original productions had. The term “World Tour” can mean many things, but it implies a grand scale for the show. I don’t think it will be like a National Tour which will play in a given city for a few weeks then move on and be ready to perform in a new city a week or two later. Especially given that this is The Lord of the Rings, and can be expected to draw large crowds, I imagine they will pick grand venues and pace out their performance dates to allow for each engagement to be a spectacular event. Add to that the fact that the above article quotes the team as saying the show will retain the “unique, thrilling and spectacular theatrical magic of the original production” and I feel confident that it will not disappoint.

God willing, this World Tour will make its way to America. I’ve lived with the knowledge that I missed out on this musical for six years now, and I refuse to miss out again!

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