Theater News

Lord of the Rings Musical Sets Casting for American Premiere at Chicago Shakespeare

The musical receives its American premiere in a new production from the Watermill Theatre.

the lord of the rings musical 3 c pamela raith
A scene from the Watermill production of The Lord of the Rings — A Musical Tale in the summer of 2023
(© Pamela Raith)

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre has announced casting for The Lord of the Rings — A Musical Tale, running July 19-September 1 in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

Directed by Paul Hart, this production began life at the Watermill Theatre in England in the summer of 2023, where it received a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Regional Production. Inspired by the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, the musical has book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and music by A.R. Rahman, Värttinä, and Christopher Nightingale.

The company is led by Spencer Davis Milford as Frodo Baggins, Tom Amandes as Gandalf, Lauren Zakrin as Galadriel, Rick Hall as Bilbo, Michael Kurowski as Samwise, Ben Mathew as Pippin, Eileen Doan as Merry, Justin Albinder as Legolas, Will James Jr. as Strider/Aragorn, Ian Maryfield as Gimli, Matthew C. Yee as Boromir, Jeff Parker as Saruman/Elrond, Alina Jenine Taber as Arwen, Suzanne Hannau as Rosie, and Joey Faggion, Mia Hilt, Jarais Musgrove, Hannah Novak, Bernadette Santos Schwegel, Laura Savage, Carter Rose Sherman, Adam Qutaishat, and Arik Vega in the ensemble.

The creative team also includes production designer Simon Kenny, choreographer and movement director Anjali Mehra, music supervisor Mark Aspinall, music director and keyboard programmer Michael McBride, lighting designer Rory Beaton, original sound designer Adam Fisher, projection designer George Reeve, puppet designer Charlie Tymms, Chicago fight director and intimacy director Rachel Flesher, associate director Christa Harris, Chicago sound designer Nicholas Pope, associate projection designer Iain Syme, original fight director Dani McCallum, and original puppetry designer Ashleigh Cheadle.

This musical adaptation was first performed at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in 2006, which was followed by a run at the Drury Lane in London’s West End in 2007. The American production coincides with the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was published July 29, 1954.


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