Lord of the Rings Musical Ready for Reviews

From The Toronto Star:

Just like a baseball player who gets whipped into shape during spring training, The Lord of the Rings looks like it's finally ready to face the major leagues.

All of this has happened just in time, because even though the official opening night isn't until March 23, media begin attending performances March 17.

And for the first time in recent memory, a truly impressive collection of press will be piling into Toronto to weigh in on The Lord of the Rings.

Even in the heyday of Garth Drabinsky's Livent empire, there was never such a turnout as the Mirvish organization is expecting this weekend.

Critics from England, Germany, Finland, France and Australia, international news magazines like Time and Newsweek and American reviewers from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago will be coming here to decide if it's thumbs up or down for Frodo and his Middle-earth friends.

Producer Kevin Wallace is thrilled at the response.

"You can't hide with a project like this and we never wanted to," Wallace says.

He's feeling optimistic because the $28 million dollar epic has slashed its running time to the relatively sleek 3 1/2 hours it always aspired to, a far cry from the nearly five hours it clocked in at its initial preview on Feb. 4.

There were also numerous technical problems and delays that cast a cloud over the proceedings initially, but the complex show is said to be running smoothly.

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