From the photo above, I can totally see how The Lord of the Rings can (and will) be made into a lavish Broadway musical.
In what I interpret as an imminent sign of the apocalypse, The New York Post reports today that a stage version of the Tolkien book will hit Toronto in March 2006, cleave its way to London after, then settle into Middle-Earth Manhattan. I can see Barry Humphries accepting a Tony in June 2007 for his role as Gandalf, the white-bearded, light-footed wizard with a song in his heart.
This news -- coupled with word that a musical version of "The Apprentice" is in development, coupled with shows fashioned around the music of Elvis and the Beach Boys -- is indicative of three things: 1) That the world is a very sad place. 2) That Broadway investors are desperate for a big-titted hit and must resort to proven blockbusters as source material. 3) That the creative community is out of ideas and/or effort. Now I know #3 isn't possible; ideas and effort just don't translate readily into dollar signs, so we don't get to see those people who have the ideas and effort.
So we get this. Since wallowing in misery and bad news is a great American pasttime, I'd like to hear your thoughts on casting and song choices for The Lord of the Rings: The Musical! Here are mine:
Barry Humphries as Dame Edna as Gandalf, of course ("Oh possums, now what did I do with my ring -- it's solid pyrate!). Since there are no computer-generated effects on the stage, they'll have to get real little people for those hobbits -- maybe Dustin Hoffman as Frodo? Gollum is a part only Joel Grey could adequately flesh out. Michael Flatley as someone. The big evil eye thing, maybe. Who else...the elf and the dwarf, right? Hugh Jackman in a blond wig and Harvey Fierstein with a mace. Hmm wait. I think the ring should be played by a real person. Delta Burke. Delta Burke as the ring. She can just wear all gold. Or pyrate, or whatever. And Elaine Stritch can narrate from the side of the stage, holding a goblet of ork blood spiked with bourbon.
Finally, the song list: the crowd-pleasing "Everything's Coming Up Hobbits," of course (God, if Merman was alive I could see her in Cate Blanchett's part as the Moist Bint, or Watery Tart, or whatever). "Samwise Gamgee Superstar." "I Could've Plundered All Night." "There Is Nothing Like a Maiming." "If I Were a Tall Man." "The Impossible Scream." "Hair." And of course, the song that will stand unchanged because it describes the current state of entertainment: "Anything Goes."
The disturbing thing is not that Ethel Merman made a disco album, but that she might've fit right in with the weirdos of Middle Earth.