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Fans of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien are a loyal bunch, and so they should be aware that while Patricia Gray's stage adaptation of The Hobbit was personally approved by Tolkien, it does change some key elements of the story. Bilbo Baggins is still a somewhat timid hobbit who gets drawn into Thorin Oakenshield's quest to recover a great treasure, and there are still encounters with elves and goblins and wargs and men — and even the dragon, Smaug, is present in the play. Gray's alterations are substantial, but so were Peter Jackson's cinematic omissions (of Tom Bombadil, and the scouring of the Shire, for example); it's the nature of translating a novel into another format. So enjoy the Lindenwood University production of The Hobbit for what is there, such as Bilbo and Gollum's famous "Riddles in the Dark" encounter, which leads to the acquisition of a certain piece of all-powerful jewelry. The Hobbit is performed at the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts (2300 West Clay Street, St. Charles) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (October 29 through 31) and Friday and Saturday (November 6 and 7), with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 8. Tickets are $10 to $18.
Oct. 29-31; Nov. 6-8, 2009

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