Brent Carver to Head Lord of the Rings Musical Toronto Cast

Having auditioned 4000 actors over four months across Canada, followed by in-depth recall auditions with 350, the creative team - led by Director Matthew Warchus and Producer Kevin Wallace - has announced the cast for the World Premiere production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Director Matthew Warchus said, "Following two years of design, script and music pre-production, arriving at a cast is a thrilling and auspicious moment. I am particularly proud of the huge diversity of skill in the company. Wonderful, experienced actors will be working alongside acrobats, stilt-walkers and outstanding singers, all pooling their talents to bring this magical story alive on the stage. Given the size of the show, this is bound to be the most gruelling production process any of us has been through, but when I look at this company, I am eager to begin!

The multi-talented cast of 55 comes from across Canada and from the United Kingdom.

In the role of the great wizard Gandalf, the creative team has chosen one of Canada's greatest performers, the internationally acclaimed Brent Carver. Mr. Carver won a Tony Award as Best Actor for KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN on Broadway and has performed on major stages across North America in both classic and new plays.

"It is a great privilege and honour to have Brent Carver leading our outstanding company of performers," Matthew Warchus said. "As one of the greatest actors of his generation anywhere in the world, he has demonstrated dazzling versatility and prowess on stage and screen, in every genre from musicals to classic plays. A long-time prince of Canadian theatre, he is aptly suited to be the inspiring leader and father figure to this dynamic young company. He is a unique talent. He will refresh the role entirely. And he exemplifies the guiding principal of this production: to bring the most exciting creative talents to this epic masterpiece and generate a thrilling new work of art."

In the role of Frodo, the Ring-bearer, is the exciting young British actor, James Loye.

"We are absolutely delighted that James Loye is bringing his unique and charismatic talent to the role of Frodo in the World Premiere production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS," said Producer Kevin Wallace, "There is an indefinable quality about James that sets him apart as the actor fit to fulfill the momentous responsibility of creating J.R.R. Tolkien's Frodo Baggins on stage."

Playing the role of Gollum is Michael Therriault. A star at the Stratford Festival, Mr. Therriault has also been acclaimed for his musical theatre work, winning a Dora Best Actor for THE PRODUCERS and currently starring on Broadway in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

Director Matthew Warchus said, "It is obvious that Gollum requires a physically virtuosic performance - being such a darkly malformed creature. But at the centre of the physicality must be superb acting; capable of capturing the extraordinary emotion, the tragedy and the unexpected warmth and comedy of this character. Celebrated as one of Canada's greatest leading actors, Michael has an intriguing originality, an unusual intensity, and a powerful focus that makes him a very exciting choice as Frodo's 'shadow' - the tormented and pitifully corrupted hobbit, Gollum. As with all the principals, Michael has been cast not least for his ability to bring this celebrated role alive on stage in a new, fresh and exciting way. It is thrilling to have him in the company".

Evan Buliung plays Aragorn, the king-in-waiting. A Shaw and Stratford favourite, Mr. Buliung has performed in a variety of the classics.

In the role of the wizard Saruman, the leader of the White Council corrupted by his lust for the Ring, is Richard McMillan, who returns to The Princess of Wales Theatre where he originated the role of Scar in the Canadian Premiere production of Disney's THE LION KING. Peter Howe plays Sam, Frodo's faithful friend. Mr. Howe was discovered by THE LORD OF THE RINGS creative team in London after he wrote to THE LORD OF THE RINGS London production office requesting an audition. He makes his professional stage debut in the role of Samwise Gamgee.

Canadian Dylan Roberts is Merry and Irishman Owen Sharpe is Pippin. "We made a particularly extensive search for two young actors with the wit, mischief, humour and personality to portray Frodo's cousins, Merry and Pippin, that finally led us to Dylan Roberts (Merry) and Owen Sharpe (Pippin). They are a fantastic pair," added Producer Kevin Wallace.

Gabriel Burrafato is Legolas. Mr. Burrafato has an impressive list of musical theatre credits and was most recently seen at The Princess of Wales Theatre in Hal Prince's 25th anniversary touring production of EVITA.

Dion Johnstone is Boromir. Originally from Vancouver, where he has performed in award-winning productions, Mr. Johnstone has been a member of the Stratford Festival for many years.

In the role of Arwen, daughter of Elrond, is Carly Street. "We were really struck by the acting talent of Carly Street, who did a dazzling audition as Arwen," says Kevin Wallace.

Victor A. Young plays Elrond, Kerry Dorey is Théoden and Kristin Galer plays Rosie.

The ensemble consists of: Greg Armstrong-Morris, Joel Benson, Alexandra Bonnet, Brent Buchanan, Matt Cassidy, Mike Cota, Susan Dunstan, Joe Eigo, Josh Epstein, Omar Forrest, Matthew Gagnon, Nicholas Gede-Lange, Don Gough, Graeme Guthrie, Colin Heath, Peter Huck, Chilina Kennedy, Krystal Kiran Garib, Bryce Kulak, Monique Lund, Shannon Lynch, Ayrin Mackie, Colin Maier, Patrick McManus, Tyler Murree, Philip Nero, Danny Pathan, Sean C. Robertson, Louise St. Cyr, Vincent Tong, Peter Van Gestel, Fraser Walters, Sanders Whiting and Shawn Wright.

The roles of Galadriel, Gimli and Bilbo have yet to be cast and will be announced at a later date.

Performances will begin February 2, 2006 at the 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre. The gala opening performance will be on March 23, 2006.

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