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LOTR Jumps the Shark 247

Posted by Hemos
from the the-sharks-&-jets dept.
eggoeater writes "The latest incarnation of The Lord of the Rings is here in the form of musical theater and, as reported by Yahoo News, the reviews are not good. The Toronto production puts less emphasis on plot, character, and music, and concentrates more on hi-tech theatrics. The production uses a 40-ton, computer controlled stage with 17 elevators and the cast of 55 goes through 500 costumes in the 3 hour performance. Despite this, the same critics say it will be a big money-maker."
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LOTR Jumps the Shark

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  • High tech stage? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChowRiit (939581) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:28AM (#15002980)
    It sounds to me that they're trying to cash in on the films, rather than make a fitting tribute to the books themselves...
    • by op12 (830015)
      With the amount of money the films made, can you really blame them? Sure they may upset any real fans, but there could be a large money-making opportunity here.
    • by nostriluu (138310) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:56AM (#15003240) Homepage
      It's funny, but the interview I read, which was in a newspaper, said they were basing the play on the books, not the films, and the technology was taking a back stage to the performance. I guess Slashdot's chosen spin doesn't quite agree. They also said, as most of these things go, that they would use the first few productions to tune the play.
      • Re:High tech stage? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WesternActor (300755)
        It's not a question of "Slashdot's chosen spin," but the review consenus. Many major media outlets--including The New York Times, the Toronto Star, Variety, theatre websites Broadway.com and TheaterMania.com, and a number of others I don't have time to look up right now were simply not thrilled with the adaptation. Yes, there were some that did enjoy it, and the show's press office fastidiously sent out those clips within hours of the show's opening. But overall, the reviews stated that the show was too l
    • by DangerTenor (104151)
      ChowRiit wrote: It sounds to me that they're trying to cash in on the films, rather than make a fitting tribute to the books themselves...

      Last I checked, theaters, playwrights, musicians, and actors were all in a for-profit business. Of course they're trying to cash in!
    • by hey! (33014) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:26PM (#15003506) Homepage Journal
      Agreed.

      In fact, you could argue that a play based on LotR must either be avante garde in the extreme, or an artistic failure. The barriers to dramatizing LotR are not in stagecraft, they're deeper than that.

      IIRC, one thing that Tolkien felt was that literary values derived from drama were hostile to myth. Drama works in thoery by Mimesis [wikipedia.org] -- creating a kind of toy model of reality. Especially given Shakespeare's dominance in English literature, it's not surprising that "realism" has become a kind of critical gold standard for all forms of literature. Cultural snobs who would never be so provincial to require painting to be representational, will nonetheless require that stories be representational to be "interesting".

      Myth, on the other hand works on an archetypal level. It's not that myth and drama can't do the same things, they just do them differently. Mixing the two models is very difficult.

      Arguably the weakest parts of the movie version stem from this problem. For example, the movie script tries to give Faramir something indicative of an interior life: he must change his mind. In dramatic terms this is sometimes cited as being "more interesting", but really I think the issue might as well have been practical. Tolkien assiduously provides us with parallel iconic examples (Theoden/Denethor, Faramir/Boromir, Frodo/Gollum) representing the consequences of choices and character. But this takes space. Drama for reasons of economy has to collapse as much as it can into fewer characters, which in turn demands that characters evolve.

      Indeed, change is the very essence of drama, and timelessness the essence of myth.

      Collapsing the film trilogy into a drama would only increase the pressure to compress the conflicts of the work into a smaller number of individual psyches. Tolkien and his crowd detested the social sciences as much or greater as their more modern counterparts loved them. Indeed, for C.S. Lewis, sociologists were practically the devil incarnate. But psychological inference is a critical tool of the dramatist and novelist. For the mythologist, symbolism plays this role, and he prefers a larger canvas and a simpler story, because his greatest tool is repetition (e.g., the three brothers/sisters of the fairy tale). It's not that one form or the other has a monopoly on psychological truth; it's just that one peers inward, the other outward.

      • Arguably the weakest parts of the movie version stem from this problem. For example, the movie script tries to give Faramir something indicative of an interior life: he must change his mind. In dramatic terms this is sometimes cited as being "more interesting", but really I think the issue might as well have been practical. Tolkien assiduously provides us with parallel iconic examples (Theoden/Denethor, Faramir/Boromir, Frodo/Gollum) representing the consequences of choices and character. But this takes spa
        • by hey! (33014)
          To me it seems that you are sweeping with a fairly broad brush here, and presenting a bit of a false dichotomy.

          Yes, to one, no to the other. I'm admittedly overgeneralizing a bit here. But saying that the normal tools of drama an myth are distinct is to my mind certainly not a false dichotomy. They are distinct as oil and water. Combining them is not impossible, it's more like ... uh ... making mayonaise. There's an art to it. C.S Lewis, for example, combines symbolism and psychological insight, alth
      • > Especially given Shakespeare's dominance in English literature, it's
        > not surprising that "realism" has become a kind of critical gold
        > standard for all forms of literature.

        I might be missing your point, but I'm not quite sure why you're linking Shakespeare with realism, considering he predated it as a theatrical movement by some 250 years or so.

        > Cultural snobs who would never be so provincial to require painting
        > to be representational, will nonetheless require that stories be
        > represe
        • I might be missing your point, but I'm not quite sure why you're linking Shakespeare with realism, considering he predated it as a theatrical movement by some 250 years or so.

          I'm not. I'm saying that because of him, drama is arguably the supreme literature in the English language. Therefore we are conditioned, consciously or not, to think of stories in a dramatic framework.

      • "...representing the consequences of choices and character. But this takes space. Drama for reasons of economy has to collapse as much as it can into fewer characters, which in turn demands that characters evolve."

        Another reason, of course, is that they're different mediums. It's all well and good that that a book can spent 50 pages denoting a character's inner struggle, but that fails on the stage and screen simply because, for the most part, we can't really see what a character is thinking. As such, any

  • by joeyspqr (629639) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:30AM (#15002995)
    well, when it jumps the Watcher in the Water, it'll have more than bad reviews to worry about
  • Jump the Shark (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just in case anyone here doesn't know what that means.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jump_the_shark [wikipedia.org]
  • "There And Back Again: Hobbits in Tights"
  • Shark? (Score:3, Informative)

    by lbmouse (473316) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:34AM (#15003034) Homepage
    Shouldn't it be... "LOTR Jumps the Watcher in the Water [wikipedia.org]"?
  • MAD already did it.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrLizard (95131) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:36AM (#15003051)
    Back in 1977, 1978 or so...around the time of the Bakshi film, they had a seven page "Lord Of The Rings Musical", noting that since the books had been made into everything else, a musical was inevitable. It's taken 30 years, but reality has outpaced satire. IIRC, it was entitled "The Ring And I".

    And I bet the songs in the MAD version were better.
    • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:53AM (#15003221) Journal
      First off, as a Torontian and a lifelong lover of Tolkiens middle earth writings, I'd like to apologise to my fellow Slashdotters for my city hosting this offense-to-art.
      One thing people should know is that Toronto's new opera house [fourseasonscentre.ca] -- Canada's first dedicated opera house -- is opening next fall. For this debut, the Canadian Opera Company is producing its first complete Ring Cycle [ringcycle.ca]. Several prominent Canadian movie directors have been involved in direction (Atom Egoyan, Francois Girard) and the individual performances in years preceeding the cycle's debut have been very well received.

      Given the timing, I see this production of LOTR as an attempt to undermine the COC's upcoming prominence. LOTR already has a large mindshare amongst the population in general due to the movies, and it has a RING in it (do not underestimate the mundacity of musical producers marketing skills!). Mirvish's theatres on King St West are facing increasing competition from other fringe theatres, plus movies, plus now a real Opera house in Toronto.

      Given these competitive pressures, plus the prevalence of the 'ring' theme in media, the LOTR musical should be seen for what it is -- a market friendly family event @ $120 a ticket. I doubt half of the eventual audience will even know that Tolkien was English or taught at Oxford.
      • For this debut, the Canadian Opera Company is producing its first complete Ring Cycle

        I no longer get excited when hearing about a new production of the Ring cycle, since I know that the event is usually sold out long before most people hear about it. It seems like the Ring is now being reserved toward the wealthy with connections who can purchase the high-priced tickets a couple of years in advance. I, and I suppose other Wagner fans of limited means, have only the Metropolitan Opera DVD recordings [amazon.com], whic

  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:36AM (#15003060) Homepage Journal
    Peter Jackson had to cut huge chunks out of the trilogy to fit it into 10 hours or so of film. How much of the content could possibly be retained in a stage show that runs about a quarter as long, and made interesting and comprehensible to a general audience?

    FRODO: Hi there, I'm Frodo.
    GANDALF: Here, take this ring and chuck it.
    FRODO: Okay!
    BLACK RIDERS: Grrrr!
    FRODO: *chuck*
    CAST: Yay!
    • Peter Jackson had to cut huge chunks out of the trilogy to fit it into 10 hours or so of film. How much of the content could possibly be retained in a stage show that runs about a quarter as long, and made interesting and comprehensible to a general audience?

      A lot more was cut from the book just to make the footage than footage was cut to make the film. Still, the film can be easily followed by those who've never read the books. The basic plot is "good guys get ring back from bad guys". That's 10 minutes to
      • by Artifakt (700173) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:31PM (#15003543)
        People almost always miss the plot of LotR entirely. To put it in your own terms,
        1. "good guys get ring back from bad guys - 10 Min, tops.
        2. good guys find out that using it will destroy everything they hope to preserve - that ought to be good for another 10 min, at least.
        3. good guys find they can't just sit on the damned thing and ignore it either - that gives us at least a half hour total.
        4. good guys have to destroy ring - Jackson got about 4 hours out of this. Maybe that's excessive, but I'll bet it's worth more than 10 more minutes.
        5. Add in a recapitulation of ALL major themes in English Lit from about Beowulf to just before T.S. Eliot - I think we can safely give that at least 1/2 an hour, but yes we could leave that out as re. actual plot - it counts more as what Rand called a Plot/Theme.
        6. Plus Aragorn gets to the far side of the board and says "Crown Me!", while the Gondorians argue about whether they should have a king or not - That ought to count as part of your plot somewhere, and be good for at least 10 more minutes.
        7. Add in Frodo resists temptation, Golum does too (a bit), both give in before the end, but it works out anyway - I don't see dealing with this in less than 1/2 an hour myself, but maybe.

        If the lord of the Rings could be summed up in your plot, all those 900,000 bad generic fantasy novels that tried to imitate it with '"good guys get ring back from bad guys", use it to defeat bad guys, yay!', would all also be great literature. In fact, one of the best proofs that LotR IS literature is the sheer number of people who have written imitations that assume any good guy getting the powerful magic item automatically wins. The best parellel is to those idiots who rewrote Shaxpur's tragedys to give them happy endings.
        • Yes, Tolkein liberally borrowed the themes of a lot of English literature (ie that written in English). Which is hilarious, given that it was his oft-expressed opinion that nothing of value had been written in English or England since 1066. Since the tone and style is of a (bad) classic realist text, and he has a tin ear for prose, his claims to be inspired mostly by the Icelandic and Saxon sagas can only play well with people of limited clue. The worst stuff is the songs whose words he uses in his writi
    • Hope they kept the Tom Bombadil storyline. It would work well in a musical ;^)
    • LOTR Short Version [porn613.com]

      Despire the link URL, trust me, this is not a link to porn.

    • I can hear it now:

      Fantasy-y - Triple Feature
      Saruman will build some creatures
      See ring-wraiths battle for the Ring of Power
      A great battle rages between two towers
      At the late night, triple feature, picture show
          oh oh oh oh
      At the late night, triple feature, picture show
          oh oh oh oh
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:37AM (#15003063) Journal
    It's been done before, and by no less than Leonard "Spock" Nimoy and a chorus of overly-wholesome '70s fly-girls [alteringtime.com]
  • Sounds an awful lot (with emphasis on "awful") like the original cartoon. Plus they made it a musical, which I suspect makes the entire production a painful affair.
  • by ivan256 (17499) *
    The Hobbit musical kicked ass! If they get the same guy...
  • only one? (Score:4, Funny)

    by endrue (927487) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:40AM (#15003090)
    the show based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy drew only one standing ovation in more than three hours

    Wow - it must have really sucked.

    - Andrew
    • Re:only one? (Score:3, Informative)

      by eggoeater (704775)
      Unless the play/performance is a get-the-hell-out-at-the-first-intermission kind of bad, then a standing ovation at the very end is a fore-gone conclusion.

      At least that's been the status-quo in the last several plays I've been to, several of which were mediocre and didn't deserve it.
    • Re:only one? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jfengel (409917)
      Tickets Broadway-style musicals often cost upwards of a hundred bucks. When an audience member pays that much money to see a show, they give a standing O at the drop of a hat. They figure it must be a damn fine show; otherwise, why would they have paid so much money? So getting only one standing ovation is the equivalent of a golf clap.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:43AM (#15003119)
    LOTR has been done in the theater many times before, as an animated series, as various movies and even as video games. ("War in Middle Earth" - [shudder]) Since the original books, the ONLY attempt to repackage the story that hasn't completely sucked was Peter Jackson's movie trilogy. So...this isn't so much "Jumping the Shark" as it is SNAFU.
    • I think the film trilogy actually doomed the musical to some extent. Adapting the books is a remarkably difficult task, and as you note, the standard result is a mess. While there are many here who will decry the movies as debauchery of the books the reality is that, all things considered, they were remarkably well done, highly entertaining films. Against the background of such a successful adaptation anything short of a miracle of a musical was always going to look poor - the reality is that the films simp
  • Musical... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Coopa (773302)
    Why is it so bad as a musical, most of what i remember from the books, that wasn't in the films, were the storytelling...through song and prose. And the summary doesn't mention that some critics, and the granddaughter of JRRT, support the musical and say it is closer to the books than the films.
  • I just started reading the book again, I think it must be the fifth time and it still sucks me in in no time. But seeing the picture with Gandalf singing while looking exactly like a Lotr-movie ripoff is too much.

    Damn it, those Tolkien brohters were always rather strict on licensing, what made them change their mind this time? This looks awful and if someone would present me with a ticket for the show I'd cancel the friendship asap.

    If the music is mediocre it will be forgotten soon, worst case would be if t
  • Some of us... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MaestroSartori (146297) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:44AM (#15003138) Homepage
    ...despite enjoying the films as standalone lumps of entertainment think that the films jumped the shark first. Dwarf tossing, shield surfing, and various other things that annoy the picky fanboy in me. Don't get me wrong, I love the films, but... dwarf tossing? Seriously, dude!
  • Hmmm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by RoadWarriorX (522317) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:44AM (#15003140) Homepage
    Maybe they need a stunt turkey [tv.com] to jump through a ring of fire between acts!

    Yeah, that's the ticket!

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:50AM (#15003190)
    Hmmm... what could it look like?

    First we get the hobbit party (first 2 songs, "let there be friends" and "it's good to be a Hobbit"). Then the big key scene where Frodo gets the ring and has to leave (big ballade, "Why me?"). They leave and get hunted by the nazguls (a little ballet filler there), pick up Aragorn somehow (not a lot of time, just a brief song "Once a king's son").

    Legolas and Gimli come into the fold at the king's court (no time for a long why the king is sick or whatnot, just a quick meeting and the big key ballade "Fellowship of the ring", whole ensemble including the nazguls dancing).

    Then a quick battle at helm's deep, where Legolas and Gimli sing a duet instead of fighting and finally Frodo singing a duet with Gollum akin to the one between Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Miserables, "My precious".

    Oh yeah, I can already see me watch this...
    • Maybe thay could just use the songs that are in the damn book? Those are perfectly good. (This is one of my gripes about the movies by the way, no singing.)
      • And pay royalties to J.R.R. Tolkien's heirs?

        Verrrrry unlikely I'd say. Besides, consider the problems:

        First of all, those songs are already pretty well known, at least by fans. How do you want to sell them as "new" and make people buy them?
        And second, and worse, people will argue to no end that your interpretation sucks and they'd have done it MUUUUCH better!
  • He would have been beaten all the armies by himself, not like Aragon who needs elves, dwarfs, wizards, and dead spirits....probably with just a snap of the hand or by banging against a giant gong. He would have just sent Richie Cunningham to drop the damn ring in the nearest middle earth dumpster while Postsie and Ralph Malph frolic in the woods. The one bad thing is that Fonzi probably would save Chachi and Joanie where as Aragon would kill them himself.

  • Pffft. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:53AM (#15003217) Journal
    Lord of the Rings did not jump the shark. Let's be specific here... the Toronto playhouse's vision of LOTR is what is lacking here... JRR Tolkien wrote a masterpiece of literature, and any interpretation of that literature is what should be examined, not the literature itself.
    • by igb (28052)
      ``Literary Masterpiece''? If you think that portraits of Elvis on black velvet are artistic masterpieces, perhaps. It's a competent potboiler, worth spending a day re-reading (I re-read it this New Year on a slack day) and real hacks like Stephen Donaldson make it look like Proust. But literature? Where's the quality of writing, the depth of characterisation, the ambiguity, the plotting...? The Hobbit is a much better book, but LotR exemplifies the old saw about ``I apologise for writing such a long l
  • My Precious (Score:4, Funny)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:55AM (#15003233)
    My dear Sam, you cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do. Your part in this story will go on. Please write produce a massive stage performance that noone will ever forget.
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:56AM (#15003241)
    It doesn't exist! Nope! Never heard of that musical! I'm not listening! LALALALALA!
  • Something "jumps the shark" when it reachs a peak that surpasses any other part of it. By definition: after Fonz jumped the shark nothing in the series would ever compare to that.

    For that reason, you can't say something jumped the shark until it has run its course. You can point to a specific scene in Peter Jackson's LOTR movies and declare that it jumps the shark at that point (for me the jump the shark scene is "You shall not pass!"); but you can never say that any interpretation of LOTR has jumped the sh
    • Something "jumps the shark" when it reachs a peak that surpasses any other part of it. By definition: after Fonz jumped the shark nothing in the series would ever compare to that.

      No, it jumps the shark when it reaches the peak of absurdity that finally makes the majority of the public realize something just isn't entertaining anymore.

      See also "jumped the couch."
    • by p3d0 (42270)
      Not only are you painfully pedantic, you are also wrong. Something is said to have "jumped the shark" when you realize it has reached its peak, and it's all downhill from there. The Fonz jumping a shark was not the high point of the show; it was the moment when fans realized that the series' best episodes were in the past, and the inevitable march toward mediocrity was underway.
    • Er, not quite. "Jumping the shark" denotes a moment when people notice a show (or series, franchise, etc.) is of noticeably worse quality than it used to be. Fonz jumping the shark wasn't the high point of Happy Days, it was the point at which people realized the show had totally gone off the rails and wasn't worth watching any longer.
  • Yeah well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jpellino (202698) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:58AM (#15003258)
    As a fan since the 70s, I never thought about this until one of my elementary students pointed it out - if the eagles could snatch the heroes off the top of Mt. Doom after all this noise, why couldn't they have simply sent the eagles to drop in the ring? Stick around for the "7th Night Free!" promotion at the Prancing Pony and head home fat and happy.
    • why couldn't they have simply sent the eagles to drop in the ring?


      Only a stealth approach to Mordor would succeed; *after* the fall of Sauron it was easy for the eagles to fly into Mordor.
    • Re:Yeah well... (Score:3, Informative)

      by vadim_t (324782)
      I've seen this discussed a couple times.

      The explanation is that it's too risky. They're great eagles, not exactly pigeons. And they're not just common eagles either. You can bet that Sauron would see them coming hours before they arrived, and the Nazgul would be all over them before they could cross the border to Mordor.

      They could sneak in after the ring was melted because Sauron vanished in a puff of smoke, and everything remaining was in chaos and nobody gave a damn about the eagles anymore.
    • As a fan since the 70s, I never thought about this until one of my elementary students pointed it out - if the eagles could snatch the heroes off the top of Mt. Doom after all this noise, why couldn't they have simply sent the eagles to drop in the ring?

      Clearly, the eagle was on fire.
    • Re:Yeah well... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Coryoth (254751)
      if the eagles could snatch the heroes off the top of Mt. Doom after all this noise, why couldn't they have simply sent the eagles to drop in the ring?

      The long answer (in the sense that it requires all the extra backstory of the creation of Middle Earth, its Gods etc) is that the eagles are servants of Manwe and do his bidding, and essentially the Valar (Gods of Middle Earth, of which Manwe is one) have a policy of non-involvement (the bulk of the Silmarillion is about the woes of the elves who leave the Val
      • Nice summary of why the Eagles don't intervene, but I think it's important to add (for those who don't already know) *why* the Valar have this policy of non-intervention.

        Long story short (and the Simlarillion is a very long story), the last time the Gods stepped out to do battle on Middle Earth, various mountain ranges were created and destroyed, and a continent or two sank into the ocean. The couple times before that cause even worse cataclysms - the map of the world was originally round and symmetrical be
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:58AM (#15003260) Journal

    My first thought was "I'd never pay to see that!"

    Then I re-read the line:

    40-ton, computer controlled stage with 17 elevators and the cast of 55

    My second thought was, "Hmmm. I wonder if they use MSWindows, on a wireless network?" It might be worth going to see after all.

    -- MarkusQ

    • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:46PM (#15003661)
      40-ton, computer controlled stage with 17 elevators and the cast of 55

      My second thought was, "Hmmm. I wonder if they use MSWindows, on a wireless network?" It might be worth going to see after all.

      A mysterious person haunts a theater, wreaking havoc on a musical production, causing mysterious equipment malfunctions that threaten to derail the performance. Thus was the storyline for "The Phantom of the Internet Explorer" born...

      (An earlier draft based around exploits in a 3rd-party browser called Opera was tossed out because marketing didn't think the show's title was catchy enough.)

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:07PM (#15003345)
    I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    However, it should be noted, this performance simply cannot be enjoyed without partaking first in some of that famous pipeweed. [jedi-hobbit.net]

  • by bckrispi (725257) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:16PM (#15003413)
    ...when Gandalf whapped Denethor with his staff.
  • You may not be aware that one of the characters in the movie was played by Liv Tyler. This was done from a casting couch hovering directly over the shark. basically, this musical is the equivalent of the string quartet that Brahmsed it's way down with the Titanic.
  • Any opinions on exactly when....? ;-)
  • The LOTR books are still great, the movies are still great, and there could still be great things in the future, like the Hobbit movie. Someone just made some suckass LOTR musical. It's not going to ruin your childhood, so deal with it.

    People make mistakes, and people need to make a living. Heck, and if rich and/or powerful people like Rick 'Destroyer Of Worlds' Berman can get away with doing what they love, even if they aren't always good at it, more power to them. Like the rest of us are always at the to
  • And do "Bored Of The RIngs" - there are parts of that that still make me laugh hard enough to be asked to leave the building. IIRC there's a few song and dance-able moments in it.
  • The latest incarnation of The Lord of the Rings is here in the form of musical theater...

    Stop! That's all you needed to say. Crappiness is guaranteed any time you inject the words "musical theater" into a sentence.

    • Oh I don't know:


      Spiders and Gandalf
      And crossing tall mountains

      Demons on horseback
      And hobbits and halflings

      Wandering forests and magical rings
      These are a few of my favorite things...
  • I read the EW review yesterday, and it sounds awesome. I never go to musicals or opera hardly, but I'd go see this. Unfortunately, it's not going to come to New York for at least 18 months.
  • I've seen it... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnixdep (629913) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:40PM (#15003619)
    Saw the LOTR musical on Wednesday...
    It wasn't *bad*
    Which is really the best I can say about it.
    It may be that I'm just not a "musical" kind of guy.
    Here's my take

    I wasn't impressed by the songs,
    I thought nearly all of the costumes were pretty weak,
    Some set pieces were really bad (Bag End was a wicker slinky).
    The special effects were overdone, leading to a completely frantic feeling for the entire production,
    They rushed through important plot points, and lingered over fluff,
    Gandalf looked like a thirty year old, 110lb guy in a fake beard, and was far too weak for the role,
    The "Scouring of the Shire" was rushed to the point where they should have left it out,
    Arowyn kept showing up and singing at the strangest times,
    The dancing trees were a little too minimalist to come across,
    What the HELL did Galadriel have on her head, Cthulu?.

    But...

    Saurman was an excellent actor, and I dug his costume/makeup,
    The high-tech stage was kind of nifty, and only slightly overused,
    I think Gollum will be very good once the amphetamines wear off... the scene where he is fighting with himself was great,
    The Black Rider's costumes were awesome,
    I liked the stage vines creeping out towards you, it is a neat effect,
    the pre-show firefly scenes were amusing,
    The first 5 minutes of the Prancing Pony song were great, then it started to drag as they repeated it over and over again,
    Gimli was well acted, as was Sam.

    If I've not listed it above I've either forgotten about it, or found it thoroughly mediocre.

    Unrelated to the show, the seats were horrible, Westjet's cheapest has significantly more leg room, maybe that's just up in the balcony, but I was pretty sore by the time it was all over.

    All and all, I'd say that if you get free tickets, by all means go. Otherwise, let them polish it up for a while.
  • Music theatre meets über-geekoid fantasy...truly this is a sign that:

    1) our entertainment standards have hit an all-time low
    2) the crab people [southparkstudios.com] have infiltrated us yet again
    3) someone made a goat sacrifice unto the alter of Andrew Lloyd Weber
    4) Broadway musicals are on a new campaign to offend the nerd community
    5) the producers of "Starlight Express" won the lottery and it's burning a hole in the pocket
    6) Catdevnull has a T-Shirt that reads: Not A Big Fan of Musical Theatre or LOTR

    I'm sure it's a lovely
  • Good for LOTR Fans (Score:4, Informative)

    by bozone (113268) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:48PM (#15003673)
    The Boston Globe gave an overall favorable review ... especially if you are a LOTR fan... the casual fan may be put off by the length and missing information (opposing forces)
    Boston Globe Review [boston.com]
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:50PM (#15003682) Homepage
    Oh, come on. LOTR jumped the shark when that idiot Peter Jackson decided to butcher it in an attempt to get filthy rich (possibly earlier than that, too, given the animated movies from the 70s, but I don't think those were mainstream enough to really count).
  • I hope it includes a performance of the chilling “Where There's A Whip, There's A Way [imdb.com].”

  • Despite this, the same critics say it will be a big money-maker.

    So? Most of Slashdot is in agreement that the Star Wars prequels were giant flaming piles of crap, but they were some of the highest grossing movies in years [boxofficemojo.com].
  • What else is new? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @01:15PM (#15003860) Homepage Journal
    The Toronto production puts less emphasis on plot, character, and music, and concentrates more on hi-tech theatrics.

    I'm getting pretty disgusted with modern theatre. I remember thinking while watching the The Lion King when they came to Los Angeles, "this is all spectacle -- there's no friggin' PLOT." And dare I say it, Phantom of the Opera wasn't much better (and I saw it with Michael Crawford).

    Is it too much to ask to have, oh I dunno, maybe a STORY when I go to the theatre? Shakespeare is rolling in his grave at the self-important state of the stage. It's all about the performers instead of the performance.

  • His version of the Rings is about 14 hours, broken into four plays. The music is very good. A few parts of the opera could use editing (possibly drop #2 Seigfreid). A few parts are iconic classics like the ride of the Valkaries. A proper staging of the rings quadology costs milions and is infrequently done.

    I wonder if you take the best of each opera and collapse it into four 45 minute acts?
    Or merger Wagner's music with Toklein's story?
  • In 8th grade I was in a school performance of the hideous travesty that is the musical version of The Hobbit [dramaticpublishing.com]. Leaving aside that school musical production values often leave a bit to be desired, the script is a literary turkey that makes the Rankin-Bass version look like a masterpiece. For starters, it includes a cameo by Frodo, who in Tolkein's work wasn't due to be born for another twenty-odd years.

    It sounds like the LOTR musical merely fails to reach the full heights it grasps for, ending dwarfed by Ja

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