Bilbo and company take the stage

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 31, 2013 

Playhouse Merced's Michelle Kittel will bring her love of author J.R.R. Tolkien to life in her directorial debut of "The Hobbit," which opens today.

Die-hard Tolkien fans will be pleased to see all their favorite characters on stage, including Bilbo, Galdalf, Gollum, as well as dwarves, elves, goblins and trolls.

"If you're a fan of the book as an adult, you will love it," Kittel said.

Those new to the mythical world of Tolkien won't be lost. "The script does a good job of giving enough background. That way people know what's going on," Kittel said. "It's become a very heartwarming tale."

Kittel is an associate artistic director at Playhouse Merced, but she also helped design the elaborate costumes for "The Hobbit," which include handmade weapons.

"It's so different than going to a movie," she said. "It's very exciting and the action is right there in front of you; you can almost reach out and touch it."

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