On the subject of musical casting, British theatregoers may be disappointed not to see more UK heavy-hitters in the now announced line-up for the stage adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Earlier this year, Alex Jennings and his former My Fair Lady co-star Malcolm Sinclair took part in a London-based workshop, playing wizard Gandalf and his nemesis Saruman (See The Goss, 21 Mar 2005), the parts played by Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee in Peter Jackson’s award-winning screen versions of JRR Tolkien’s trilogy. Those parts have now been taken by Canadians Brent Carver (who won a Tony Award for Kiss of the Spider Woman) and Richard McMillan. Fair enough, given that the March 2006 world premiere will now take place in Toronto rather than London, due to a lack of an appropriate West End venue (See News, 15 Mar 2005). Still, UK actors have managed to get a few feet in. James Loye (whose London credits include Sleeping Beauty, Cymbeline and Twelfth Night) will play Frodo, the ring bearer and reluctant hero, while Owen Sharpe (Oliver, She Stoops to Conquer, A Laughing Matter) will play his hobbit mate Pippin. The creative team – director Matthew Warchus, designer Rob Howell and choreographer Peter Darling – are also British as is producer Kevin Wallace. Wallace has described the 55-strong company as a “hybrid”, featuring experienced classical actors as well as physical theatre performers and singers. The plan is to bring the musical to the West End after Canada.