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'Rings' mega-musical opens in Toronto

March 23, 2006
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The long-awaited and hugely expensive musical version of JRR Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings saga burst onto the world stage in Toronto on Thursday night with an international cast headed up by Canada's Brent Carver in the role of Gandalf and Briton James Loye as Frodo.

The colourful mega-production, which cost a staggering £14.4 million (Canadian $27 million), made its world premiere to some sniping from critics – one of whom quipped, perhaps inevitably, that it was "far from hobbit-forming" – but received an enthusiastic response from the audience.

A cast of 55 performers brought to life the show, which ambitiously aims to unite the entire Rings epic into one musical. "It's got aerial sequences. It's got a moving floor, it's got some of the most complicated technology ever used," said its award-winning British director, Matthew Warcus, as the production opened at the city's Princess Of Wales Theatre.

Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett in the movie epic, was performed by Rebecca Jackson Mendoza, last seen on the big screen in Star Wars Episode III; while Canada's popular stage and screen actor Michel Therriault took on the role of Gollum.

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Photo: Getty Images
Canada's Brent Carver (left) and Briton James Loye as Gandolf and Frodo on the opening night of the £14.4 million mega-production
Photo: Getty Images
The role of Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett in the movie version, was performed by Rebecca Jackson Mendoza