A R Rahman to compose score for "Lord of the Rings" stage musical adaptation in 2005

A R Rahman to compose score for "Lord of the Rings" stage musical adaptation in 2005

India's most popular composer A R Rahman and Finland's influential contemporary folk group Varttina are to collaborate in composing the score for the stage version of the world premiere of JRR Tolkien's classic trilogy The Lord of the Rings,which will open in the West End in the Spring of 2005.

This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the complete J R R Tolkien trilogy, "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King".

A R Rahman & Varttina replace Stephen Keeling and Bernd Stromberger, who was reported to be writing the music in May this year.

A R Rahman has composed the soundtracks for over 50 Bollywood films, which have sold over 100 million soundtrack albums. He has also composed for television and recording artists. A R Rahman is best known in the West for writing the music for Bombay Dreams , currently playing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, and opening on Broadway in Spring 2004.

Varttina , fronted by three female singers and supported by six acoustic musicians, are now celebrating their 20th year and the release of their 10th album. Since 1990, they have toured internationally and built a reputation as one of the most inventive and uncompromising ensembles in the contemporary world music arena. The original inspiration for Tolkien's stories and languages (such as Elvish), and for much of Varttina's music and lyrics, is the Kalevala, Finland's national epic of mythological songs, poems and stories.

Producer Kevin Wallace says, "A fusion of A R Rahman's and Varttina's exceptional talent and contemporary sound, rooted in the antiquity of their respective traditions, will provide Tolkien's mythological world of Middle Earth with a pure, unique and dynamic score. At the heart of this spectacular epic is an intense story of personal and collective endeavour that grips the audience's imagination, immersing them completely in the experience; the music of A R Rahman and Varttina has the dramatic range to do just that. I am pleased the music of the project's initial composers Stephen Keeling and Bernd Stromberger is also available to the production".

THE LORD OF THE RINGS, with book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna, will be directed by Matthew Warchus and designed by Rob Howell. Christopher Nightingale is the musical supervisor.

The production is produced by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz, at a cost of £8 million.

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