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‘The Lord Of The Rings’ UK Musical Sets U.S. Premiere In Chicago

The Lord of the Rings musical that opened last year in the UK will stage its U.S. debut in Chicago this July, producers announced today.

Based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien and directed by Paul Hart, The Lord of the Rings – A Musical Tale will begin performances July 19 at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, running through September 1. An international tour will follow, with venues and dates to be announced in June.

“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 US premiere production with Chicago Shakespeare Theater for Chicago audiences,” Hart said in a statement. “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.”

The open-air musical debuted last summer at the UK’s Watermill Theatre in Berkshire, where Hart is the artistic director. The production features book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and original music by A.R. Rahman, Finnish folk band Värttinä, and Christopher Nightingale. (An earlier iteration was staged at London’s Royal Drury Lane in 2007).

The synopsis: As the Hobbits celebrate Bilbo Baggins’ eleventy-first birthday in the Shire, he gifts his nephew Frodo his most precious belonging—a gold ring. This fateful moment launches Frodo on a legendary and perilous quest across Middle-earth to the darkest realms of Mordor to vanquish evil with his loyal Fellowship.

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