WE KNOW IT SO WELL! ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bj?rn Ulvaeus along with Sir Tim Rice (Official) are bringing their acclaimed cult classic hit Chess – The Musical back to London’s West End this Spring 2018 for a limited 5 week run at the English National Opera’s London Coliseum. Previews begin April 26th, 2018, Opening Night set for May 1st, 2018, and will run through June 2nd, 2018.
This new production will feature direction by Laurence Connor (the recent revival of Les Mis?rables US, the current revival of Miss Saigon US, and School of Rock the Musical) and choreography by Stephen Mear (the recent acclaimed London and Broadway revivals of Sunset Boulevard). No word has been made as well if this production will be considered as the talked about new Broadway revival next year in 2018.
CHESS takes place at a political driven Chess tournament during the Cold War where an American grandmaster and a Soviet grandmaster are fighting to win the game and the woman that manages one of the players and falls in love with the other. The musical features some of the most iconic songs that became worldwide singles including ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK, I KNOW HIM SO WELL, ANTHEM, NOBODY’S SIDE, and more.
Like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, CHESS was originally conceived as a # 1 hit concept album that was released in 1984 featuring the acclaimed voices of…
Murray Head as “Frederick Krumper” (The American),
Tommy K?rberg as “Anatoly Sergievsky” (The Russian)
Dame Elaine Paige as “Florence Vassy” (The Woman)
Denis Quilley as “Molokov” (The Assistant to “Anatoly”)
Bj?rn Skifs as the no-nonsense “Arbiter”
and Barbara Dickson as “Svetlana” (The estranged ex-wife of “Anatoly”).
The album did so well (featuring majority of the songs becoming # 1 hit singles), enough money was made to put the production in London’s West End playing the Prince of Edward Theatre where it ran for 3 years opening to mixed reviews. The cast featured only 3 of the Principal singers from the recording (Murray Head, Tommy K?rberg, and Elaine Paige) along with John Turner as “Mokolov”, Tom Jobe as “The Arbiter”, and Siobh?n McCarthy as “Svetlana”. The show initially was supposed to be directed by Michael Bennett but withdrew from the production from illness and died from AIDS a year later after it opened. Trevor Nunn took over as director. It was nominated for 3 Olivier Awards in 1986 including Best New Musical but lost the categories.
A year after opening the musical in London’s West End, CHESS arrived on Broadway in 1988 at the Imperial Theatre for only a total of 85 performances. For New York, the creative team from tried to revamp and change so much from what the British didn’t like. However, it got a whole lost worst. The reviews were all negative (with only the cast getting positive reviews for their vocals). The cast for Broadway featured…
Philip Casnoff as “Frederick Krumper”,
David Carroll as “Anatoly Sergievsky”,
Tony nominee Judy Kuhn as “Florence Vassy”,
Harry Goz as “Mokolov”,
Paul Harman as “The Arbiter”,
and Marcia Mitzman Gaven as “Svetlana”.
CHESS’ Broadway run went to get numerous award nominations including 2 Tony Awards nods for Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for David Carroll) and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Judy Kuhn).
The show went to receive worldwide productions around the world including several concert presentations. In 2003, a one night only concert presentation was performed at the New Amsterdam Theatre to raise money for The Actors Fund. It was produced without any set or costume changes. There was a full orchestra onstage and the script was a combination of both the American and British versions, mostly following the British version with regard to music but the American version with regard to the plot. This concert version featured…
Tony nominee Adam Pascal as “Frederick Krumper”,
Tony and Grammy nominee Josh Groban as “Anatoly Sergievsky”,
Julia Murney as “Florence Vassy”,
Tony nominee Norm Lewis as “Mokolov”,
Tony nominee Ra?l E. Esparza as “The Arbiter”,
and Tony winner Sutton Foster as “Svetlana”.
One of the most recent acclaimed productions happened in 2008 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the show’s premiere, a 2 night only concert adaptation was presented at London’s Royal Albert Hall featuring a full cast accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This version featured majority of the British script but also included 2 additional songs from the American premiere. It was also recorded for a 2 disc live CD and DVD (which is still available). It also aired on Great Performances l PBS. The cast of this version featured Adam Pascal and Josh Groban reprising their performances of “Frederick” and “Anatoly” from the Actor’s Fund concert for the 25th Anniversary London concert. It also featured…
Tony winner Idina Menzel as “Florence Vassy”,
David Bedella as “Mokolov”,
Marti Pellow Official as “The Arbiter”,
and Kerry Ellis as “Svetlana”.
Who is ready to once again go PLAY THE GAME?!
CHESS is set to run for five weeks in the West End
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