501 Toronto*

  • General Introduction and Resources
  • Posters
  • Handbills
  • Brochure
  • Magazine Ad
  • Tickets
  • Performance Programmes
  • Promotional DVD
  • Souvenirs

LOTR Stage Musical ~ Toronto Production

General Introduction and Resources

Creating an Immersion Theatrical Experience

The Lord of the Rings stage musical has included two major productions thus far: Toronto (which ran from February 4-September 3, 2006) and London (May 9, 2007, through July 19, 2008). Official news reports on the website noted that a run in Germany and/or a worldwide touring edition would be next. Produced by Kevin Wallace, this musical represents just as creative and epic a process of adaptation from The Lord of the Rings books as does Peter Jackson’s film trilogy. They faced enormous challenges in translating 3 volumes with 550,000 words into a 3-dimensional, multiple-media, immersion-experience in a theatrical environment – and all within a 3-hour or so length.

For those who enjoy stagecraft and music, the LOTR musical leaves a legacy of behind-the-scenes information, both visual and verbal, to demonstrate how it was done. Because I was not able to see either production in person, I had to do what I could to reconstruct the audience’s experience from video clips, website photos, printed descriptions, musical selections, and promotional materials. I found The Official Stage Companion, the theatre programs, and oversized souvenir programs particularly helpful in this task. Also, for video input, 3 promotional DVDs (1 from the Toronto production and 2 from the London production) helped immensely with a total of 45 minutes of footage delving into the musical’s pre-production processes, premiere, and performances. And the Original Soundtrack release from the London production (supported by India’s Jet Airways) helped visualize the event with a slideshow of production and performance photos.

A stage production could never reach the measure of a film, nor should it. I appreciated how the creative team forged a unique experience for the audience, bringing forth something that was a hybrid of the emotional impact of opera, the immediacy of theatre-in-the-round, and the spectacular surprises of Cirque du Soleil. Despite mixed reviews from critics, I find the ultimate results to be satisfying. I enjoyed my research and collecting for these spectacular multiple-media productions, and have lost count of how many times I’ve listened to the entire soundtrack.

Key Websites

The Official Lord of the Rings Musical website has many helpful resources, including past press releases, cast and crew lists and biographies, photo galleries, etc. Be sure to see the Education page to access the Education Pack.

UK Student Life has posted an excellent Guide to the stage musical version of “The Lord of the Rings,” including sections on characters, story, music, photo gallery, and video clips. (These video clips are hard to find in any other format, as far as my research indicates so far – as of May 2010. They are available on some of the promo DVDs issued to promote the musical. However, these are very rare.)

The What’s On Stage magazine has numerous articles on the LOTR musical available through searching their archives. They also published an extensive photo essay/cover article in their June 2007 magazine, and this edition shows up periodically on the eBay UK site.

Technical and Popular Resources

Lighting & Sound America ~ May 2006

Stagecraft and the musical adaptation – “There and Back Again: Middle-earth Comes Alive in a New Stage Version of Lord of the Rings” (Lighting & Sound America, May 2006, pages 52-59).

Analysis of music memes for the film and stage versionsProjecting Tolkien’s Musical Worlds: A Study of Musical Affect in Howard Shore’s Soundtrack to Lord of the Rings by Matthew Young (VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller).

There are numerous YouTube videos for both the Toronto and London performances.

Notes on Items and Descriptions

Measurements in centimeters are rounded off to the nearest .5cm except where it is clearly in between .5cm and .0cm.

Measurements in inches are rounded off to the nearest eighth of an inch.

The title for an item is taken from the largest-sized type content nearest the top of the ad, brochure, or handbill.

On some items related to the LOTR Musical only, you’ll see the phrase TM SZC lic. to KWL. This stands for “Trademark Saul Zaentz Company, licensed to Kevin Wallace Limited.” Kevin Wallace Limited is the company that produced the stage musical.

Posters

I have not collected any posters from the Toronto production of The Lord of the Rings musical, and I don’t recall seeing any Toronto posters listed on eBay for over a year. As best I can remember, all variations of the poster used the same overall blue-and-white color scheme as used in most promotional materials, along with the distinctive logo of the interwoven branches spelling out the title in brown-tone colors.

Promo video clips, photos, and slides of the Toronto premiere occasionally show the main posters in the background during interviews with crew members.

Handbills

Title: A New Legend is Born.

Format: Single panel, double sided, on cardstock.

Dimensions: 9.5cm W x 21.5cm H.  3.75″ W x 8.50″ H.

Front: Title, LOTR logo, Experience the Drama Like Never Before, information on world premiere and Princess of Wales Theatre.

Back: Description, pricing and performance schedule, ticket sales.

Notes: Main color, dark blue.

Title: Unleash Your Imagination.

Format: Single panel, double sided, on cardstock.

Dimensions: 9.5cm W x 21.5cm H.  3.75″ W x 8.50″ H.

Front: Title, RingWraith on horse, LOTR logo, information on world premiere and Princess of Wales Theatre.

Back: Description, pricing and performance schedule, ticket sales.

Notes: Main color, dark blue.

Brochure

Title: Breathtaking.

Format: Three panels, double sided, on heavy paper.

Dimensions, Folded: 9.5cm W x 21.5cm H.  3.75″ W x 8.50″ H.

Dimensions, Unfolded: 21.5cm H x 28.5cm W.  8.50″ H x 10.25″ W.

Front Panel: LOTR logo, Frodo and Sam and Ents, information on Princess of Wales Theatre.

Notes: Main color, dark blue.

Magazine Ad

Title: A New Legend is Born.

Format: Magazine ad, one page, on glossy newsprint paper.

Dimensions: 22cm W x 27.5cm H.  8.625″ W x 10.875″ H.

Front: Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz production information; title; LOTR logo; information on world premiere, ticket sales, and Princess of Wales Theatre; partners – Tourism Toronto and Air Canada.

Notes: Main color, dark blue. From Food & Drink magazine, Holiday 2005.

Tickets

LOTR Stage Musical ~ Toronto Ticket

Title: Princess of Wales Theatre.

Format: Single panel, double sided, on cardstock.

Dimensions: 14cm W x 5cm H.  5.5″ W x 2.00″ H.

Front: Title; LOTR; day, date, and time; seat number; price; ordering data and booking reference.

Back: Description, pricing and performance schedule, ticket sales.

Notes: Main colors, light purple and white; dark blue left and right edges and pre-printed lettering; black printing.

Performance Programmes

Title: Princess of Wales Theatre, Programme.

Format: Stapled booklet with paper cover.  (1) The February/May 206 edition has 96 pages total with a 40-page center section on cast, crew, and production. The insert pages are numbered beginning with “P.”  (2) The June/August 2006 Edition has 80 pages total with pages 21-60 containing details on cast, crew, and production. For both editions, the cover and main programme pages are printed on glossy newsprint paper, and the center section on non-glossy paper.

Dimensions: 13.5cm W x 21cm H.  5.25″ W x 8.375″ H.

Front: Title, edition date, LOTR logo.

Notes: Main color, dark blue. Two editions of the programme were issued. The first is “February/May 2006 Edition.” The second is “June/August 2006 Edition.” Each version contains background articles, as well as ads related to the musical production and its various partners.

A forthcoming section or document will compare the two programme editions for background articles; cast, crew, and production information. That documents contains individual lists of partner advertisements for each edition.

Promotional DVD

LOTR Stage Musical ~ Toronto Promotional DVD

Toronto “Blue” Promo DVD – “A New Legend is Born”

This DVD lasts 13 minutes 39 seconds and was packaged in a dark blue cardstock folder sleeve (5.5″ wide x 5″ high). The one included in this lot is still sealed – I used my own copy for the photos.  It focuses on background information from the creators and producers of the stage musical, and on its Toronto premiere (February 2006). It includes video documentary and interview segments on:

  • Preparatory workshops: vocals, Ents, Black Riders.
  • Creation process: staging, unique sound of Middle-earth, condensing the novel for the stage.
  • Interviews: Värttinä (Composers), Kevin Wallace (Producer), Rob Howell (Set/Costume Designer), Christopher Nightingale (Orchestrator/Musical Supervisor), A.R. Rahman (Composer), Alex Frith (Circus Skills Consultant), and Matthew Warchus (Director and Book and Lyrics).

Click on the following link to download a PDF document with an index of segments on this and the London Promotional DVDs.

LOTR Stage Musical – Promo DVDs – Indexes

Souvenirs

There have been few souvenirs to surface on eBay from the Toronto performance of the musical, and I never was able to acquire any. Apparently there is an oversized souvenir programme, similar to the one issued for the London performances. And there may have been a mug and keychain available.