TORONTO — With rare exceptions, producers like to keep the media as far away from their rehearsals as possible. And the higher the stakes, the greater the level of secrecy. That conventional wisdom was turned upside down Dec. 12 when Kevin Wallace invited 150 journalists to watch six scenes from the upcoming stage version of “The Lord of the Rings,” which begins previews Feb. 2 at the Princess of Wales Theater prior to a March 23 opening. “It was essentially to get the core message out that we know what we’re doing here and that this creative team we’ve gathered together has truly found the way to bring Tolkien to the stage,” is how Wallace explained his unconventional action. What made this especially daring was the fact that “Lord of the Rings” is a show that relies heavily on a spectacular physical production. With a C$27 million ($23.4 million) budget, a cast of 55 and a 40-ton set that consists of three interconnected turntables with 17 lifts, not to mention numerous special effects, it took courage to offer up the work under fluorescent lights with the cast in sweatpants and T-shirts. [More]