Journey to Middle-earth in a New Immersive Musical Based onThe Lord of the Rings

Mike Powers
Journey to Middle-earth in a New Immersive Musical Based onThe Lord of the Rings


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Photo: Robbie Jack (Getty Images)

Get ready to experience The Lord of the Rings in a new musical retelling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s lore. Directed by Paul Hart, The Lord of the Rings – A Musical Tale will soon make its move from a run at the UK’s Watermill Theatre to the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

The U.S. production starts its performances July 19, running through September 1. The book features lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and original music by A.R. Rahman, Finnish folk band Värttinä, and Christopher Nightingale.

“I can’t wait for this next step in the epic journey of The Lord of the Rings as we craft this new staging for the U.S. premiere production with Chicago Shakespeare Theater for Chicago audiences,” Hart said in a statement shared by Deadline. “We loved creating this version which was retold from the perspective of the Hobbits at the Watermill and will now be expanded far beyond those horizons. It will be thrilling to share with new audiences internationally as part of this next stage.”

Mixing open air spaces and a theater set, the production sets to utilize a similar set up in Chicago as it did in the UK, telling the story of how Frodo Baggins inherits his uncle Bilbo Baggins’ precious ring. The course of Frodo’s life changes launching him on the journey to meet a fellowship that will guide him to the darkest realms of Modor to destroy an evil that threatens Middle-earth. The musical seemingly crams all three books into its three hour run-time, which begs the question, “will there be second intermission?”

Take a look at the trailer below for the Watermill Theatre’s production last year. It looks to cover a lot of ground and perhaps condensing the tales into song makes it go by faster, but that doesn’t necessarily bode well for storytelling purposes.

The Lord of the Rings | The Watermill Theatre, Jul – Oct 2023

The Lord of the Rings – A Musical Tale will begin performances July 19 at the Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and run through September 1, with an international tour to follow.


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