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March 24, 2006

Lord of the Wrongs

I am as big a Lord of the Rings fan as anyone. Okay, actually, I'm a much bigger fan than most people, having read the thing upwards of 20 times and being extremely fond of the recent film version. But some ... interpretations ... of the story just don't seem like such a good idea. For example, the musical, which has just opened in Toronto. Critics are underwhelmed by the spectacle, calling it, among other complimentary things, "largely incomprehensible."

I'm not sure I ever want to hear the music, which, no matter how good it might actually be, is pretty much my reason for believing that a LOTR musical is just a bad, bad idea to begin with. Here we have a work that teeters on the edge of self-parody and camp under the best of circumstances -- and we're going to turn it into a musical, that most campy of artistic/entertainment genres? This really couldn't have gone well. The New York Times review confirms my worst suspicions: Galadriel "sings of Elvish good will in the style of Celine Dion," and many of the songs "suggest Enya at an ashram." Oy.

I'm all for reinterpreting classics in new ways, "putting old wine into new bottles," as the saying goes. But to stretch that metaphor further than it should be stretched, sometimes the bottle really isn't the right shape or size for the wine it's supposed to hold. Maybe this musical can be tweaked and altered enough to make it an artistic success (and, oh yeah, a runaway hit), but I'm doubtful. I'm reminded of The Simpsons and Oh! Streetcar: The Musical. But that was supposed to be a joke.

Posted by at March 24, 2006 5:24 PM