Cohl Promotes The Hobbits

Canadian promoter Michael Cohl and producer David Mirvish recently unveiled plans for a $22.5 million, three-hour musical version of JRR Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” fantasy trilogy, which will eventually tour.

Details are scarce, but Cohl and Mirvish recently previewed the event to stakeholders, Mirvish Theatre subscribers and the media at Toronto’s Princess of Wales theatre. The musical is expected to debut at the theatre in March 2006, with tickets going on sale in May. The production is eventually headed to London’s West End.

British producer Kevin Wallace has acquired stage rights for the Tolkien work and film producer Saul Zaentz is also involved in the musical, which is scored by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, Finnish group Värttinä and Brit Christopher Nightingale.

Mirvish said that after word of the LOTR production was leaked to the press, there was worldwide reaction.

Cohl, the longtime promoter for The Rolling Stones, joked with the audience, asking them the difference between the LOTR production and former Toronto Raptors basketball star Vince Carter. Then he answered his own question, saying LOTR would be in Toronto for years to come. (Carter left the team and now plays with the New Jersey Nets.)

The show doesn’t have any sets or actors yet, but rehearsals begin in October. It was originally set for a U.K. debut this year, but producers changed those plans because they reportedly could not find an available theatre of the right size.