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Carver off to be wizard

He’s off to be the wizard. Casting was announced today for the C$27 million ($22 million) stage version of “The Lord of the Rings” and Tony Award winner Brent Carver (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”) heads the 55-member cast as Gandalf. Producer Kevin Wallace and director Matthew Warchus auditioned more than 4,000 actors for the past four months before coming up with their final choices. Since the show will be originating in Toronto, most of the cast is Canadian, but thanks to concessions from Canadian Actors’ Equity, up to five foreign actors can be cast. One of them is James Loye, the young Brit who will be playing Frodo. He has performed onstage at the Chichester Festival and the Old Vic. Gollum will be played by Michael Therriault, a seven-season Stratford Festival veteran who’s currently playing Motel the tailor in Broadway revival “Fiddler on the Roof.” Rehearsals begin in October and the production will open at the Princess of Wales Theater on March 23, 2006.

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