Date: 29th May 2003
A musical version of JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, costing more than £8m, is planned for London's West End.
The show, planned to open in 2005, will cost more than any other theatre production ever staged in London.
"This will be like nothing the West End has ever seen before," said producer Kevin Wallace.
"We are setting out to re-create Tolkien's fantasy world on the stage and it will have a real sense of wonder and awe for the audience."
The show's £8m budget is £1.5m more than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, currently the most expensive show on the West End.
"To do justice to the Lord of the Rings you have to pull out all the stops," Mr Wallace said.
The producers hope to take the show around the world.
The launch of the stage show will come 50 years after Tolkien's trilogy was first published as one volume.
The book's popularity has soared in the past two years, since New Zealand director Peter jackson released the first two Rings films, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.
The two films are already in the top 10 most successful films of all time.
The third film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is due to be released around the world on 17 December.
Matthew Warchus, the man behind Tell Me On A Sunday and Our House, will direct.
The project has been in development for 18 months and casting begins next spring.
Wallace said there would be a nationwide search for an actor to play young hobbit Frodo Baggins, played in the films by Elijah Wood.
He said: "There are so many great roles in the Lord Of The Rings but I think Frodo will be the most important.
"We will search far and wide to find our Frodo."
Source: Press Release