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Chess (musical)

Chess is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, formerly of ABBA. The story involves a romantic triangle between two players in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the characters’ personalities are loosely based on those of Victor Korchnoi and Bobby Fischer.

Following the pattern of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, a concept album of Chess was recorded in 1984, and generated a number of hit singles. The first theatrical version of Chess opened in London's West End in 1986 and played for three years. A much-altered production premiered on Broadway in 1988, but most critics gave it a poor reception, and it failed to attract large audiences. In spite of this failure in the United States, Chess, like Candide and other "cult" musicals, is frequently revised for new productions, many of which try to merge elements from both the London and Broadway versions.

Chess came seventh in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the United Kingdom's "Number One Essential Musicals.

History

The album musical of Chess was recorded and released in 1984, before any stage production was underway. It was produced at Polar Studios in Stockholm, engineered by ABBA veteran Michael B. Tretow. The musical was not fixed upon entering the recording studio, various lyrics were tried for several songs used, and some songs, such as "When the Waves Roll Out to Sea," were never included in the final double LP. A single from the album, "One Night in Bangkok," performed by Murray Head with Anders Glenmark, became a worldwide smash and reached No.3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, while the duet, "I Know Him So Well," by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson, held the number one spot on the UK singles charts for 4 weeks in February 1985 and won the Ivor Novello Award as the Best Selling Single ('A' Side). Unlike the versions of the musical to come later, the two main characters, the Russian and the American, were never named, and there was little plot. Some observers have speculated that this last fact--the almost-total lack of a real plot — might have been what resulted in the American failure.

In the fall of 1984, the original album cast gave concert performances of the score in Stockholm, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris, and London, in a tour that was sponsored by another famous Swedish export, truck manufacturer Scania.

West End

Chess premiered in the Prince Edward Theatre in London on 14 May 1986. It was originally set to be directed by Michael Bennett, but he withdrew for health reasons that would later turn out to be AIDS. He only did so, however, after casting the show and commissioning the expansive set and costume designs. The show was rescued by director Trevor Nunn, who shepherded the show on to its scheduled opening, though with considerable technical difficulty.

According to set designer Robin Wagner, interviewed in Lynn Pecktal's book Set Design, the original Bennett version was to be a "multimedia" show, with an elaborate tilting floor, banks of television monitors, and other technological touches. Nunn, realizing he could never bring Bennett’s vision to fruition, instead applied his realistic style to the show, although the basics of the mammoth set design were still present in Nunn's show. This included the three videowalls, the main of which featured commentary from chess grandmaster William Hartston, along with appearances from BBC newsreaders. The premiere of the musical provoked a mixed verdict from the critics and, according to Variety Magazine, "one of the bigger West End mob-scenes in recent memory." Most of the naysaying notices had comments ranging from "far too long" and "shallow" to The Guardian's conclusion, "A musical is only as good as its book, and here one is confronted by an inchoate mess." Several London papers were on the other end of scale, including the Daily Telegraph, which said the show "compels admiration," while The Times noted that "it turns out to be a fine piece of work that shows the dinosaur mega-musical evolving into intelligent form of life." Some writers, notably Frank Rich and Ken Mandelbaum, have pointed out that final product was hampered by the starkly different styles of Bennett, who was creating a flamboyant, elaborate, and stylish show, and Nunn, who was more attuned to realism and grandiosity (an example being Nunn's addition of dozens of chairs, desks, tables, and photographic backdrops to the otherwise stylized, high-tech set).

In London, Chess was a massive physical production, with estimated costs up to $12 million. It expanded the storyline of the concept album, adding considerable new recitative. It attracted several West End stars, such as Anthony Stewart Head, Grenia Renihan, David Burt, and Peter Karrie, in its three year run.

The West End production won a London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical and received three Laurence Olivier Award nominations: Best Musical, Outstanding Performance by an Actor (Körberg) and Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Paige), closing on 8 April 1989.

Broadway

After London, the creative team decided that the show had to be reimagined from the top down. Trevor Nunn brought in playwright Richard Nelson to recreate the musical as a straightforward "book show," Nunn brought in new, younger principals after he disqualified Paige from the role of Florence by insisting Nelson recreate the character as an American. The story changed drastically, with different settings, characters, and many different plot elements, although the basic plot remained the same. The changes necessitated the score to be reordered as well, and comparisons of the Broadway cast recording and the original concept album reveal the dramatic extent of the changes. Robin Wagner completely redesigned the set, which featured a ground-breaking design of mobile towers that shifted continuously throughout the show, in an attempt to give it a sense of cinematic fluidity.

The first preview on 11 April, 1988, reportedly ran 4 hours; by opening night on 28 April, it was down to 3 hours 15 minutes. Many critics panned the show, most notably Frank Rich of The New York Times, who wrote that "the evening has the theatrical consistency of quicksand." A few reviewers, however--from Time and the New Yorker in particular--praised it very highly. William A. Henry III wrote in Time: "Clear narrative drive, Nunn's cinematic staging, three superb leading performances by actors willing to be complex and unlikeable and one of the best rock scores ever produced in the theater. This is an angry, difficult, demanding and rewarding show, one that pushes the boundaries of the form." Rich later noted, in his book Hot Seat, that "the score retains its devoted fans." Although the musical had developed something of a cult following based primarily on the score as heard on the original concept album, the Broadway production never sustained a large audience, and it closed on 25 June, after 17 previews and 68 regular performances, despite further cuts for time. According to Gerald Schoenfeld, co-producer of the show: "The musical had been playing to about 80 percent capacity, which is considered good, but about 50 percent of the audience have held special, half-priced tickets. If we filled the house at 100 percent at half price, we'd go broke and I haven't seen any surge of tourist business yet this season. The show needs a $350,000 weekly gross to break even, but only a few weeks since its April 28 opening have reached that....You have to consider what your grosses are going to be in the future." (USA Today, June 21, 1988)

Nelson's book is a frequent target of scorn from critics and fans alike, though it has its supporters. Many subsequent attempts have been made to fix its perceived problems. Nonetheless, Nelson's book is still used in many American productions, because an unknown contractual stipulation prevents the London version, which many believe to be the source of the show's popularity and appeal, from being performed within the United States.

Despite mostly unfavorable reviews, the Broadway production picked up several major award nominations. It got five nods from the Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Actor in a Musical (David Carroll), Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Judy Kuhn), Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Harry Goz), Outstanding Music (Andersson and Ulvaeus) and Outstanding Lighting Design (Hersey), plus two Tony Award nominations for Carroll and Kuhn in Leading Actor in a Musical and Leading Actress in a Musical categories. None of the nominations resulted in the win, but Philip Casnoff did receive the 1988 Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance. Broadway Cast recording of the musical was nominated for Grammy Award in the category Best Musical/Show Album.

In 2001, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Rice admitted that after the "comparative failure of Chess, his all-time favorite, he became disillusioned with theater." He commented, "It may sound arrogant, but Chess is as good as anything I've ever done. And maybe it costs too much brainpower for the average person to follow it," he said.

1990 to the present

Chess was now a mixed success, combining the popularity of a smash hit album and the problems of a critically derided script - in other words, fertile ground for those seeking to "get it right," even though historical conditions and the fall of the Soviet Union severely compromised the timeliness of the story. The first major attempt at a revival was the American tour, which ran from January to July of 1990. This tour, which starred Carolee Carmello, John Herrera, and Stephen Bogardus, was staged by Des McAnuff, who was brought in at the eleventh hour when Trevor Nunn declined to be involved. Robert Coe, the playwright who worked with McAnuff on revising the show, restored most of the original song order from London and deleted the new songs written for the Broadway version, but had only 4 weeks to complete a complex rewrite. (The performing editions in the United States retain Nelson’s book.) The seven-month-long tour was not a major success, but it did garner some positive reviews. A separate tour in the United Kingdom, starring Rebecca Storm, was a smash.

Also in 1990 was the production at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois, near Chicago. Directed by David H. Bell and starring Susie McMonagle, David Studwell and Kim Strauss, it featured another reworking of the Nelson script. Bell's version has been performed in Sacramento and Atlanta as well. Tim Rice was involved in a 1990 production in Sydney, Australia, where Jim Sharman directed a total rewrite done primarily by Rice. It starred Jodie Gillies, David McLeod, and Robbie Krupski, with the action shifted to an international hotel in Bangkok during the chess championships, and was a critical and popular success. A later Australian production opened at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne in 1997, with Barbara Dickson taking the lead role of Florence (not Svetlana, as she had sung on the original studio cast album). Co-stars included Derek Metzger and Daryl Braithwaite.

Chess was, even in 1990, trying to keep itself modern; the ending of the Cold War was noted in all new versions of the show. Once the Soviet Union fell, the modernisation attempts died out, and the clock was set back: Tim Rice's 1990 rewrite that played a brief run Off-Broadway went all the way back to 1972. The Chess mania that had begun in the U.K. more or less died down to a string of occasional productions of the Broadway and London versions for the next decade.

In 1995, the Los Angeles production of Chess at Hollywood's Hudson Theater starring Marcia Mitzman (who played Svetlana in the original Broadway production) as Florence and Sean Smith as Anatoly garnered good reviews. For their performances both Mitzman and Smith each won Ovation Award and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.

There have been further rumours of a new production, and Tim Rice has mentioned on several occasions his desire to bring a translated version back to London and/or Broadway, and is currently working on new stage and motion picture adaptations, but no firm announcements had been made as of late March 2008. However, Elaine Paige announced on her radio show on 26th August, 2007, that there was impending news about the project. This has since been qualified with the announcement of two concert performances at the Royal Albert Hall on 12th and 13th May 2008. Josh Groban, Adam Pascal and Idina Menzel have played in the lead roles of Anatoly, Freddie and Florence respectively. Kerry Ellis starred performing Svetlana.

There have been new major productions in Baltimore and Denmark, as well as a well-received concert version in New York.

There are still touring and regional stagings in various parts of the world, such as the 2006 performance at the outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall, and a 4-month tour in early 2008 by the Rolling Stock Theatre Company

The Concept Album

The double album received critical accolades--"dazzling score that covers nearly all the pop bases" (Rolling Stone), "rock symphonic synthesis ripe with sophistication and hummable tunes" (Time)--and was a major commercial success worldwide. For seven weeks it remained at No.1 on the Swedish album chart, became a Top 10 hit in UK and reached No. 47 on the Billboard 200 Albums in the US. It also garnered several prestigious awards, including Germany's Golden Europa Award, Dutch music prize Edison Award and the Swedish prize Rockbjörnen.

Plot Synopsis

Act 1

The world chess championship is being held in the northern Italian town of Merano. The brash American champion relishes the crowd's affection, while his Russian challenger and Molokov, his second (actually a KGB agent), watch with curiosity and disdain on TV. The opening ceremony features an arbiter insisting on holding the proceedings together, US and Soviet diplomats vowing their side will win, and marketers just looking to make a buck. The American storms out of a rules meeting, leaving his second, Florence, in an argument with the Arbiter and the Russians. She later scolds him, but he insists that she, a child Émigré who escaped Hungary during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, should support him. Instead, she reflects that "nobody's on nobody's side." The first game of the match goes badly, with dirty tricks nearly evolving into a brawl. A meeting to smooth things over goes badly and ends with the Russian and Florence together, where they quickly develop feelings for each other. As the matches continue, the American flounders and blames Florence, who leaves him. The Russian wins the championship, then defects to the west. Answering reporters's questions about his loyalties, his "Anthem" declares that "my land's only borders lie around my heart."

Act 2

A year later, the Russian is set to defend his championship in Bangkok, Thailand. The American is already there, chatting up locals about the nightlife. Florence and the Russian are now lovers, and upon hearing the news on the television that the Russian's wife has been allowed to leave the USSR to attend the match, the couple argue. The wife and Florence both reflect on their relationships with him. The American goes to the Russian with information about Florence's long-lost father, claiming that instead of being a hero as she believed, he was a collaborator. The Russian, and later Florence, dismiss him, unwilling to hear what he has to say. The American reflects on his life and his obsession with chess as a way to escape an unhappy childhood. In the deciding game of the match, The Russian manages an exceptional victory, and realizes that it may be the only success he can achieve--his wife castigates him for wallowing in the crowd's empty praise. Both acknowledge they are doomed to care only for themselves. Later, he and Florence reflect on their story that seemed so promising, and how they "go on pretending/ stories like ours/ have happy endings."

Songs

Act I

  • "Merano"
  • "The Russian and Molokov" / "Where I Want to Be"
  • "Opening Ceremony"
  • "Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility)"
  • "The American and Florence" / "Nobody's Side"
  • "Chess"
  • "Mountain Duet"
  • "Florence Quits"
  • "Embassy Lament"
  • "Anthem"
Act II

Principal cast

London

Plot Synopsis

Act I

The head of the International Federation explains the history of the game of chess, as we move to the northern Italian town of Merano, where this year's championships are taking place. As the townsfolk prepare for the occasion, the brash American champion, Frederick Trumper arrives with his second, Hungarian orphan Florence Vassy. In their hotel room, Florence explains to Freddie that the press will portray him badly if he continues with his bad boy attitude, just before he heads off to a press conference where he attacks a journalist who questions his relationship with Miss Vassy. His Russian challenger, Anatoly Sergievsky, and Alexander Molokov, his second (actually a KGB agent), watch with curiosity and disdain on TV, before Anatoly laments as to how he has got to where he has.

The opening ceremony features an arbiter insisting on holding the proceedings together, US and Soviet diplomats vowing their side will win, and marketers just looking to make a buck. During the chess match, Freddie believes that the Russians are tampering with the game and storms off, leaving the chessboard on the floor, and Florence to pick up the pieces with Anatoly, Molokov, and the Arbiter, whereby she agrees to bring Freddie and Anatoly together to sort out their issues. It turns out that Freddie engineered the stunt to get a higher price from the TV company; when Florence finds out, they argue, leading Florence to lose it with Freddie when he brings her father, believed captured by the Russians during the 1956 uprising, into the argument. She reflects that "nobody's on nobody's side," before heading off to the Merano Mountain Inn for the meeting between East and West. Freddie doesn't turn up, leaving Anatoly and Florence to eventually embrace, before being interrupted by Freddie, who has been engineering new financial terms.

After the next chess game, Florence leaves Freddie, whereby he laments on how his unhappy childhood left him the man he is today. Florence goes with Anatoly to the British Embassy, where he attempts to seek exile in the west, and she reflects on whether it is best to love a stranger. Walter de Courcey, however, has his own plans, and has tipped off the media, who ambush the pair at Merano station. Anatoly tells the awaiting audience that his land's only borders lie around his heart.

Act 2

A year later, the Russian is set to defend his championship in Bangkok, Thailand. Freddie is already there, chatting up locals about the nightlife before taking his place as television presenter for the championship. Florence and the Russian are now lovers, and worry about the situation, especially the impending arrival of his wife, Svetlana, from Russia. Molokov, meanwhile, has trained a new protege, Viigand, to challenge the Russian, meanwhile spying on the opposing pair.

Walter manipulates Freddie into rattling the Russian on live TV, showing him footage of his wife's arrival. She and Florence both reflect on their relationships with him. Molokov blackmails Svetlana into making Anatoly lose the match, whilst de Courcey informs Florence that her father is still alive in Russia, and will be released if Anatoly loses. Neither of these ploys work, so Molokov and de Courcey attempt to get Freddie to convince the pair to throw the match.

But Freddie is more interested in winning back the love of Florence. Secretly, Freddie arranges to meet Anatoly in a temple, whereby he informs Sergievsky of a flaw in his challenger's game. In the deciding game of the match, the Russian manages an exceptional victory, and realizes that it may be the only success he can achieve--Svetlana castigates him for wallowing in the crowd's empty praise, whilst Florence is similarly annoyed with him for casting aside his moral ideals. Later, he and Florence reflect on their story that seemed so promising, and how they "go on pretending/ stories like ours/ have happy endings." Florence is left alone, when de Courcey informs her that Anatoly has defected back to the USSR, meaning that her father will be released, that is, if he is actually alive....Florence breaks down, telling Walter that he is using people's lives for nothing, before repeating Anatoly's sentiments from the end of Act One, that her only borders lie around her heart.

Songs

Act One

  • The Story of Chess
  • Merano
  • Commie Newspapers / Press Conference
  • Anatoly and Molokov / Where I Want to Be
  • US vs. USSR (Diplomats)
  • The Arbiter's Song
  • Hymn to Chess
  • Merchandisers
  • Chess #1
  • The Arbiter - Reprise
  • Quartet - A Model of Decorum and Tranquility
  • Florence & Molokov
  • The American and Florence/1956 - Budapest is Rising
  • Nobody's Side
  • Der Kleine Franz
  • Mountain Duet
  • Chess #2
  • Florence Quits/A Taste of Pity
  • Pity the Child
  • Embassy Lament
  • Heaven Help My Heart
  • Anatoly and the Press
  • Anthem
Act Two

  • The Golden Ballet/One Night in Bangkok
  • One More Opponent
  • You and I
  • The Soviet Machine
  • The Interview
  • The Deal
  • I Know Him So Well
  • Talking Chess
  • Endgame
  • You and I (Reprise)
  • Finale

Principal cast

Broadway

Plot synopsis

The American version has different settings and a completely different Act 2. In particular, the entire show is about one chess tournament, not two. Act 1 handles the first part of the tournament, which is held in Bangkok, while Act 2 handles the conclusion, and is set in Budapest.

Act 1

The world chess championship is being held in Bangkok. At a press conference, the brash American challenger, Freddie Trumper, relishes the crowd's affection, while the current Russian champion, Anatoly Sergievsky, and Molokov, his second, watch with curiosity and disdain. During the match Freddie accuses Anatoly of receiving outside help via the flavor of yogurt he is eating, and Freddie storms out, leaving his second, Florence, in an argument with the Arbiter and the Russians. She later scolds him, but he insists that she, a child emigre who escaped Hungary during the 1956 uprisings, should support him.

A meeting to smooth things over goes badly and ends with the Russian and Florence together, where they quickly develop feelings for one another. Freddie was supposed to attend, but got sidetracked by the nightlife, and arrived late to see Anatoly and Florence holding hands. When he later accuses her of conspiring against him, she reflects that "nobody's on nobody's side", and decides to leave him. As the matches continue, Freddie flounders, finishing Act 1 with 1 win and 5 losses; one more loss will cost him the tournament. Anatoly surprises everyone by defecting at the end of Act 1. Answering reporters' questions about his loyalties, his "Anthem" declares that "my land's only borders lie around my heart."

Act 2

Eight weeks later, everyone is in Budapest to witness the conclusion of the tournament. Florence is elated to be back in her hometown of Budapest, but dismayed that she remembers none of it, not even what happened to her Father, since he had to leave her in 1956. Molokov offers to help and starts "investigating" Florence's father's fate. The plot quickly spins into political intrigue involving the Russians’s attempts to get Anatoly back; even Svetlana, Anatoly's estranged wife, has been flown into Budapest to pressure him indirectly. These threats strain Anatoly's relationship with Florence, and she shares her woes with Svetlana. The stress impedes Anatoly's ability to play chess, so that Freddie starts winning games until they are tied 5-5. Molokov brings Florence to see a man claiming to be her father, and implies that harm will come to the man if Florence remains with Anatoly. During the final game Anatoly realizes that despite all the harm he has brought with his defection, he cannot hurt his true love, Florence, by depriving her of her father. He chooses to recant his defection, and makes a tactical error. Freddie immediately takes advantage of the blunder and proceeds to win the game and the tournament, becoming the new world champion. Anatoly returns to Moscow a broken man.

Florence is waiting for her father so they can leave for America when she is approached by Walter. He confesses to her that the old man is not her father and her father is most likely dead. It seems that the Soviets struck a deal with Walter, a secret CIA agent, that if they managed to get Anatoly back, they would release a captured American spy. Their initial attempts at getting Anatoly back by using Svetlana and other family members had failed, and they had finally succeeded by using Florence. As the curtain closes, Florence has left Freddie, been lost by Anatoly, and lost the father she never had, and she realizes that like Anatoly, her “only borders lie around her heart.”

Songs

Act I

  • Prologue
  • The Story of Chess
  • Press Conference#
  • Where I Want to Be
  • How Many Women
  • Merchandisers#
  • U.S. vs U.S.S.R.#
  • Chess Hymn
  • Chess#
  • Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility)
  • You Want to Lose Your Only Friend?
  • Someone Else's Story
  • One Night in Bangkok
  • Terrace Duet
  • Florence Quits#
  • Nobody's Side
  • Anthem
Act II

  • The Arbiter#
  • Hungarian Folk Song
  • Heaven Help My Heart
  • No Contest
  • You and I
  • A Whole New Board Game#
  • Let's Work Together#
  • I Know Him So Well
  • Pity the Child
  • Lullaby (Apukád erős kezén)
  • Endgame
  • You and I (Reprise)
  • Anthem (Reprise)#

Song appears on album, but was deleted from production and is not found in the script licensed for production.
#Song featured in the Broadway production, but was unrecorded for the cast album.

Principal cast

Sydney

This version was spearheaded by Tim Rice, who brought in parts from each of the previous versions, as well as what had been his original conception for the Broadway version. The production was directed by Jim Sharman. No cast recording was made of this version.

Plot synopsis

The Sydney version further streamlined the plot, having both acts take place at a single chess tournament in a single city (Bangkok). This version takes place in the late 1980s. Florence's nationality was changed from Hungarian to Czech, which changed the year that the Soviets overran her country from 1956 to 1968 (with an accompanying change in the lyrics of "Nobody's Side" from "Budapest is falling" to "Prague and Mr. Dubček"). As in the London version, in this version Anatoly defects from the Soviet Union, wins the tournament, then decides to return to the Soviet Union at the end, leading to the possibility that Florence's father, if he is still alive, will be released from prison.

Songs

Act I

  • The Story of Chess
  • Introductions
  • One Night in Bangkok
  • Tournament Song
  • The Arbiter
  • Merchandisers
  • Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility)
  • Tournament Song (reprise)
  • Argument / Nobody's Side
  • Argument (reprise) / Where I Want to Be
  • Cocktail Chorus
  • Terrace Duet
  • No Contest
  • Florence Quits
  • Heaven Help My Heart / Act One Finale
Act II

  • Prelude
  • Embassy Lament
  • You and I
  • Anthem
  • Someone Else's Story
  • Attempted Reconciliation
  • Pity the Child
  • The Soviet Machine
  • The Deal
  • Let's Work Together
  • The Deal (reprise)
  • I Know Him So Well
  • Endgame
  • You and I (Reprise)

Principal cast

The "Chess In Concert" album

This is a recording of a concert performance (not a full stage production) in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1994. The songs and lyrics are largely identical to the studio album, with the addition of "Someone Else's Story" from the Broadway version and "The Soviet Machine," from the London version.

Principal cast

The Danish tour

In late 2001, a Danish tour was created, directed by Craig Revel Horwood. A 2-CD album of the tour of Chess was released. The tour followed the London version of the musical, with the addition of "Someone Else's Story," given to Svetlana in Act Two. The first release of the album had the complete London score (minus small portions of underscoring); however, this was pulled from circulation, to be replaced with a much shorter, trimmed-down version closer to the original concept album.

Principal cast

  • Anatoly Sergievsky - Stig Rossen
  • Florence Vassy - Emma Kershaw
  • Frederick Trumper - Zubin Varla
  • Arbiter - Michael Cormick
  • Alexander Molokov - Simon Clark
  • Svetlana Sergievskaya - Gunilla Backman
  • Walter de Courcey - James Graeme

The 2002 Stockholm Version

In late 2001, rumours began to circulate about a new production in Stockholm. Written entirely in Swedish, with lyrics and book by Björn Ulvaeus, Lars Rudolffson, and Jan Mark, it attempted to streamline the story back to its original form and eliminate the aspects of political potboiler that had come to define the show. Featuring new musical numbers ("Han är en man, han är ett barn" and "Glöm mig om du kan") and focusing on material from the concept album, the Stockholm version was a drastic rewrite. It was filmed for Swedish television, and has been released on a Swedish-language DVD. The Original Swedish Cast CD "Chess På Svenska" peaked at No.2 on Swedish album chart.

The Stockholm production was nominated for eight national Swedish Theatre Awards Guldmasken and won six of them, including Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Helen Sjöholm), Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Tommy Körberg), and Best Stage Design (Robin Wagner).

Principal cast

The Actors's Fund of America Concert, 2003

Presented on September 22, 2003 in the New Amsterdam Theater, Broadway. The show was a mixture of both the Broadway and London versions, and was produced without set or costume changes, and with the orchestra onstage. The show, recorded for posterity, was directed by Peter Flynn, choreographed by Christopher Gattelli and musical directed by conductor Seth Rudetsky.

Principal cast

Multimedia concert version, Los Angeles, 2007

Presented September 17, 2007 at the Ford Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA. Mixture of London and Broadway versions. Cast included Susan Egan (as Svetlana), Kevin Earley (as Anatoly), Ty Taylor (as Freddie), Cindy Robinson (as Florence), Thomas Griffith (as Molokov), Tom Schmidt (as Walter) and Matthew Morrison (as the Arbiter). Enesmble, choir and 27 piece orchestra on stage. Directed by Brian Michael Purcell, choreographed by A. C. Ciulla, musical direction by Dan Redfeld. A portion of the proceeds going to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Concert version, Royal Albert Hall, London 2008

On the 12th and 13th May 2008, the following principal cast performed a concert version of Chess together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which was recorded by Time-Warner for release on DVD in December 2008 Tim Rice stated in the Concert's Programme that this version of Chess is the "official version", after years of different plot/song combinations:

Principal cast

Company

Cantabile, Grant Anthony, Christopher Colley, Tiffany Graves, Leila Benn Harris, David Michael Johnson, Debbie Kurup, Aoife Mulholland, Tabitha Webb, Jon Robyns, Andrew Playfoot, Barnaby Ingram, Mark Evans.

Song List

Taken from the programmeAct One

  • Prologue
  • The Story of Chess
  • Merano Montage

*Merano
*Freddie's Entrance
*Merano (Finale)

  • Commie Newspapers
  • Press Conference
  • Molokov and Anatoly
  • Where I Want To Be
  • The Opening Ceremony

*US Versus USSR
*The Arbiter
*Hymn to Chess
*The Merchandisers

  • Chess #1
  • The Arbiter (reprise)
  • Quartet/Model of Decorum and Tranquility
  • Molokov and Florence
  • Florence and the American
  • Nobody's On Nobody's Side
  • Mountain Duet
  • Fanfare
  • Chess #2
  • Florence Quits
  • Pity the Child
  • Fanfare
  • Embassy Lament
  • Heaven Help My Heart
  • Anatoly and the Press
  • Anthem
Act Two

  • Bangkok Montage

*Golden Bangkok Ballet
*One Night in Bangkok

  • One More Opponent
  • You and I
  • The Soviet Machine
  • The Interview
  • Someone Else's Story
  • The Deal
  • Pity the Child (reprise)
  • I Know Him So Well
  • Talking Chess
  • Endgame
  • You and I (reprise)
  • Anthem (reprise)

References

External links

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