The Lord of the Rings – A Musical Tale, the multi award-winning musical production that has been wowing theatregoers in the UK over the past 12 months, is set for a USA debut in Chicago starting this July.

Paul Hart, who created the acclaimed 2023 staging at the UK’s Watermill Theatre, will also oversee the production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s The Yard.

“I can’t wait for this next step in the epic journey of The Lord of the Rings as we craft this new staging for the US premiere production with Chicago Shakespeare Theater for Chicago audiences,” Mr Hart said.

“We loved creating this version which was retold from the perspective of the Hobbits at The Watermill and will now be expanded far beyond those horizons. It will be thrilling to share with new audiences internationally as part of this next stage”

Sam – Nuwan Hugh Perera – and Frodo – Louis Maskell – with Gollum – Matthew Bugg – sneaking in the background… (Photography Pamela Raith)

“Sharing the Watermill’s wonderful expression of The Lord of the Rings on stage with audiences across the globe beginning this summer in Chicago, with the US premiere of Paul Hart’s and Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s collaborative re-imagining, is a dream come true,” says Fredrica Drotos of LOTR theatre-production rights-holder Middle-earth Enterprises.

Just this January, this latest musical retelling of Frodo’s quest scooped eight BroadwayWorld UK/West End awards, including Best New Production of a Musical.

TORn’s own Staffer greendragon gave the Watermill staging a solid thumbs-up in her review last year, while it has also received critical plaudits from The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Mail on Sunday.

The staging is incredibly inventive, with cast moving through the auditorium – and even climbing over it. Stunning puppets create suitably terrifying Ringwraiths and an astonishing Shelob. Elrond causes the river to rise, the doors of Moria glow, even the Balrog appears; every theatrical trick and device is called into play, including impressive lighting and projections, to create Middle-earth in front of and around the audience – and those watching the night I was there were clearly loving it.

Staffer greendragon

“Paul Hart’s production is something rather wizard… it is filled with battles, fellowship, adventure and emotional intimacy. Terrific lighting, projections and puppetry play a huge part.”

The Mail on Sunday

The Lord of the Rings – A Musical Tale features book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and original music by Academy Award winner A.R. Rahman (Bombay Dreams, Slumdog Millionaire), Finnish folk band Värttinä, and Tony Award winner Christopher Nightingale (Matilda the Musical).

The Chicago season is slated to run from July 19 to September 1 and further global dates and venues will be announced in June. Get your tickets via the official lotrmusical site here.