January 30, 2006
Two days after that, the curtain will rise at Toronto's packed-to-the-rafters Princess of Wales Theatre, and 2,000 paying audience members will be the first in the world to behold the three-hour melding of theatre, music and special effects. Though the March 23 gala opening is still more than seven weeks away, the stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved trilogy kicks off preview performances Thursday night, a process that producer Kevin Wallace says is like adding fine brush strokes to a nearly complete painting.
"We expect the audiences to be thrilled by the physical production, which is fantastic and extraordinary and big," said Wallace. (He's not kidding -- the giant spider, Shelob, will stretch across the entire 40-foot stage.) "But ultimately, do they actually care about Sam and Frodo and Arwen and Aragorn and Gandalf? Are they interested in the story? Do they laugh and cry and do they go through the whole process with them?"
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