Lord of the Rings musical planned  

The Borneo Post - Friday, 13 June 2003

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LONDON: Hobbits, dwarves and elves are heading for the London stage in the world's first major musical of the "Lord of the Rings", its backers said.

West End producer Kevin Wallace said the reworking of British author JRR Tolkien's fantasy epic will cost US$13 million.

"It will stimulate audiences' imaginations in a way they've never felt before," he told Reuters.

A cast of 50, lavish sets and a full orchestra will help recreate Middle Earth, the mystical setting for the swords and sorcery trilogy.

The show will be co-produced by Saul Zaentz, the veteran Hollywood producer behind "The English Patient" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". It is due to open in London in Spring 2005 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the complete trilogy and may be put on around the world. Rob Howell, who worked on London productions of "The Graduate" and "The Caretaker", will be in charge of stage design.

Interest in the Rings has rocketed after the huge success of director Peter Jackson's big screen adaptations of the first two books. The third film, "The Return of the King" is due out later this year.