CHESS in Concert trailer – it’s here!

The CD and DVD release dates.

PBS Television will broadcast the performance starring Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, Adam Pascal and Marti Pellow in the US on Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Eastern Time.

Background

On Monday May 12 and Tuesday May 13, 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall, London, there were two spectacular, standing room only, performances of CHESS in Concert, with story and lyrics by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Lion King) and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (Mamma Mia!), formerly of ABBA…

CHESS In Concert montage

Production photographs by Tristram Kenton and Simon Williams

Leading the cast were top-selling US recording artiste, Josh Groban, Broadway’s Idina Menzel (Wicked) and Adam Pascal (RENT), and the West End’s Kerry Ellis (Wicked and We Will Rock You), Clarke Peters (Porgy and Bess) and David Bedella (Jerry Springer, The Opera). Playing The Arbiter was the chart-topping Wet Wet Wet singer, Marti Pellow.

Also featured were the CHESS in Concert company, the 100 strong West End Chorus and the City of London Philharmonic with Stephen Disley playing the great organ of the Royal Albert Hall. Tim Rice introduced both performances in front of packed houses and was delighted to see the spontaneous standing ovations at the end of each Act.

Share your thoughts on the CHESS in Concert trailer, leave a comment...

CHESS involves a romantic triangle between two players in a World Chess Championship, and the 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 who died earlier in 2008.

Following the formula 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.

Tim Rice has said he hopes that CHESS in Concert will be the model for future productions.

More information

  • There are currently no plans for release on Blu-ray.
  • The DVD will include subtitles.

88 Responses to “CHESS in Concert trailer – it’s here!”

  1. George 19 Apr, 2009 at 8:00 PM #

    Saw Broadway version in 1988, LOVED,LOVED Judy Kuhn(the best Florence ever, in my opinion), loved late David Carroll and Philip Casnoff, BUT…I hated the musical.
    I don’t think Chess works (and I doubt it will ever work) as a theater piece, but it’s great as a concert performance.
    Don’t quite share the frantic excitement about the trailer, it’s good but really nothing special.
    Josh Groban is spectacular as a vocalist, but I’m not sure about his acting skills…

  2. Aleksander 19 Apr, 2009 at 10:38 PM #

    Why cast a principal who is out of pitch when singing one of the most powerful songs in the entire show? I loved most of the concert, but when Josh Groban sang Anthem I wanted to flee the building! He did a good job on Where I Want to Be though. But his Anthem is way off pitch!

  3. Phil 19 Apr, 2009 at 10:46 PM #

    OH….MY….GOD

    I saw the west end production the day after it opened and have waited for this ever since. Thanks Ice so much for posting the trailer – I can’t wait to own the DVD. Roll on release date!!!

  4. Stephen UK 20 Apr, 2009 at 12:23 AM #

    Congratulations Ice on your exclusive – the fact the record company choose your site for the premiere shows the quality of your site.

    I didn?t see the concerts and have been surprised by the ravings from forum memebrs as the postings on this site after the shows last year was more critical.

    The Trailer is however a great promotional clip -I was not expecting it to as "acted" as it seems to be from the video as most concert version just have the people singing the show whereas there seems to be quite a production going on if without proper stage sets.

    They certainly were clever with casting it with an internationally well known group of performers who will attract their own fans to Chess as well as the core fans.

    It will be interesting to see how it is received when released and if it has a decent chart run after the intial first weeks sales.

    But being honest adter seeing the clip I do fear that once again Chess has been blown up beyond its core story and turned once again into some mega musical. The songs of Chess are powerful stories of emotion and personal battles they are not starlight express or even wicked large scale production numbers – for Chess to really show its power it needs to be brought down by its creators to a smaller scale.

  5. narvikekero 20 Apr, 2009 at 2:48 AM #

    It was great! I cannot wait to get the DVD!! Even I love Mamma Mia the musical,I always thought Chess it is much better, 100% new songs and wonderful songs and the music and the feelings…I love it!! Thanks for the trailer

  6. opingte 20 Apr, 2009 at 6:42 AM #

    thanks God for putting this to one spectacular show.i can’t wait to see the dvd on this.mixed beautiful and powerful voices on this planet

  7. philw1964 20 Apr, 2009 at 8:23 AM #

    I hope it sounds better than it did live. The sound at the Albert Hall was rubbish.

  8. Frances Quinn 20 Apr, 2009 at 1:39 PM #

    I’m puzzled by the fact that so many people liked the Albert Hall show. I thought it was the worst version of Chess I’ve ever seen (and as someone else commented, not helped by the fact that the sound was appalling). Josh Groban doesn’t come close to Tommy Korberg either in voice or stage presence, and Helene Sjoholm is still by far the best Florence I’ve seen. I hated this version of the story too, the Swedish version is much better. As for concert versions, the shows that have played in Sweden at various open-air venues, with Tommy and Karin and Anders Glenmark, were miles better than the Albert Hall version. But each to their own I guess!

  9. Jean Sherlow 20 Apr, 2009 at 2:08 PM #

    This is BRILLIANT.
    Cant wait for the DVD.
    This is one wonderful show.

  10. duketgg 20 Apr, 2009 at 5:00 PM #

    In which format will the DVD be released? Region 2, Region 1 or both?

  11. John C 20 Apr, 2009 at 8:12 PM #

    Okay – so you can’t please everyone but this is gonna be great to have.

    Subtitles is an excellent ‘move’ – see what I did there?

    I saw both nights, the second was far superior and if this CD/DVD is representative of that evening, then I think we are in for such a treat.

    I’ve always wanted to own the full version of Chess and now I can. I just have to wait until June.

    Bjorn, Benny and Tim, I salute you!

  12. nancy 20 Apr, 2009 at 10:06 PM #

    EXQUISITE!!! I have never seen anything like this as a trailer. It really captures the energy and excitement of the production (which is significant!). I was lucky enough to see the NYC concert production, and am so happy this has gone international. Hopefully we will see CHESS back on the Great White Way once again! If MAMA MIA can go Hollywood, why not?

  13. Krystal_Lynn 21 Apr, 2009 at 2:16 AM #

    I so would love to do this show. UNbelievable!! Absolutely amazing and powerful.

  14. Quinten 21 Apr, 2009 at 8:33 AM #

    Chess lacks depth in the story. This trailer is nice, but can´t hide the fact that the musical is empty. Chess has FLOP written all over. I bombed before on braodway, and it will BOMB again!

  15. laura 21 Apr, 2009 at 7:00 PM #

    i was there the night they recored this, 13th May 2008 it was a fantastic show. Josh Groban – sensational, Idina Menzel – Glamourous, Kerry Ellis – wonderful, Adam Pascal – very handsome. one of the best shows i have ever seen, i had goosebumps watching this trailer and cannot wait for the CD/DVD release – the atmosphere was electric – Tim Rice got a fantastic reception and so did the rest of the cast.

  16. Michael 22 Apr, 2009 at 11:12 AM #

    Very exciting, hope we get it here in Australia (the DVD). Is it just me or are Josh’s top notes on "where" and "start" just slightly flat?

  17. Gary 23 Apr, 2009 at 2:50 PM #

    Fantastic trailer! Thanks so much Ice!!!

    I’ll be getting the DVD and the 2CD set for sure!!

  18. Barry Bernstein 23 Apr, 2009 at 5:15 PM #

    I cannot believe its nearly a year since we saw Chess in London.Its probably taken the sound engineers a year to sort out the terrible problems with the sound in The Albert Hall.We were lucky we were there the second night which apparently sound wise, was 100% better than the first night and still even though we had reasonably good seats the sound was far from perfect. I hope we get the DVD in the UK at the same time as the release in the States.

  19. NickM 24 Apr, 2009 at 7:29 AM #

    After watching the live performance – which despite a good cast had terrible sound and staging – its hardly suprising they’ve waited nearly a year before trying to release the DVD – am sure they have "fixed" the audio but the rest it just a testament to the power of editing!

  20. PJ 24 Apr, 2009 at 8:15 PM #

    Very excited to see this — but please push for a BLU-RAY release as well. It’s a shame to waste such an amazing HD recording on standard DVD.

  21. Jeffrey Schlichter 25 Apr, 2009 at 4:20 AM #

    PLEASE release a blu-ray version!

  22. Jack 26 Apr, 2009 at 10:01 PM #

    I saw this in London and it was fanstatic!
    definatley will be buying this dvd!

  23. Natalie 27 Apr, 2009 at 1:25 PM #

    Seeing how many people saw this show on both nights makes me realise why I was unable to buy tickets!! For those of us deprived until now, I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the UK release date as it was after all recorded in London.

  24. jackie 27 Apr, 2009 at 3:47 PM #

    The UK release date is 15th June according to this site.

  25. Rose Billclin 29 Apr, 2009 at 2:38 PM #

    Is this DVD will also be available here in the Philippines? I really want to buy this.

  26. Michael Rose-Nel 03 May, 2009 at 11:07 PM #

    I still have the original cassette tapes from when Chess first came out, and I have the CD, I will not miss out on this CD and DVD. I am a great fan of Idina and Josh.

  27. Mar 07 May, 2009 at 4:17 PM #

    this is so awsome? will the dvd be release in all the world or just usa and europe? i want a copy so bad…

  28. london here 07 May, 2009 at 9:45 PM #

    My god….. brilliant. The whole thing is amazing and i’m so glad the organ is in it – stunning!

  29. Joe Wood 09 May, 2009 at 1:09 AM #

    The trailer looks great, I can’t wait to buy the DVD.

    If you can’t wait until June 17th for the DVD, CHESS is being performed in Birmingham UK at the Crescent Theatre from June 2nd – 6th, by the Bourneville Musical Theatre Company.

  30. Debs 11 May, 2009 at 3:33 PM #

    I was so disappointed that I could not go to see this in person….THANK YOU so much for making the DVD version, finally I can see the entire performance!!!
    I know Josh Groban and Idina Menzel will be wonderful, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the other performers as well!

  31. Debs 11 May, 2009 at 3:33 PM #

    I was so disappointed that I could not go to see this in person….THANK YOU so much for making the DVD version, finally I can see the entire performance!!!
    I know Josh Groban and Idina Menzel will be wonderful, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the other performers as well!

  32. Debs 11 May, 2009 at 3:45 PM #

    I was so disappointed that I could not go to see this in person….THANK YOU so much for making the DVD version, finally I can see the entire performance!!!
    I know Josh Groban and Idina Menzel will be wonderful, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the other performers as well!

  33. Denise Schult 13 May, 2009 at 3:21 PM #

    "Chess" seems to be having a renaissance at the moment – our company have been granted the licence to do a production of "Chess" at The Hexagon Theatre, Reading from 27th-31st October 2009 – hoping for a sell-out.
    Box office 01189 606060

  34. RJS 26 May, 2009 at 8:11 PM #

    I’ve just watched the trailer after a long time since first looking at it and it has occurred to me that it is a bit strange to have what looks like blood on the board and streaks of blood in a few clips before that.

    It makes it look like there is a murder in the story. It looks great and exciting, but I just thought it a bit strange that they used these images, which to me makes it read like a murder thriller.

    Anybody else think the same?

    RJS

  35. londoner21 28 May, 2009 at 5:19 PM #

    Idina Menzel was fantastic . Thank god for such a strong performer with a very sub standard sound system on the first night. So good to see someone with such an imense voice that can actually act too. Josh Grobans ‘Anthem’ sent chills up yr spine. Pre ordered!

  36. Susan Shuman 07 Jun, 2009 at 5:51 AM #

    I really wanted to go and see Chess in London last year, but I couldn’t get there; so now I am
    really excited that it will be on PBS soon and I
    can’t wait to get the cd/dvd for my collection.
    I have not heard Idina Menzel’s voice, so I am not too familiar with her work. but I love to hear Josh sing Anthem. Can’t wait for this.

  37. Mark Renshaw 18 Jun, 2009 at 9:12 AM #

    GREAT performance!

    It was broadcast in HD, so why no blu ray version?!

  38. Gordon Simpson 23 Jul, 2009 at 3:18 PM #

    Having been at the show with a near perfect view from a rear box, i have to say I was absolutely mesmerised, particularly by Josh and Kerry..

    I have read on other forums, a lot of complaints about sound, in relation to some of the performer’s diction and how poor it was. I hope that was just a glitch on the night and won’t be representative on the DVD

    Idina. Oh dear.. it sounded like it took her till Heaven Help my heart to warm up but overall her diction was so shocking at one point i wondered if she was auditioning for a stage version of Alvin & the Chipmunks.. I really wanted to like her but truth be told (IMHO), Kerry was light years ahead and the role of Florence SO should have gone to her.

    I had (shame on me) never heard Josh before the concert and the end of the first act, his Anthem was jaw-droppingly amazing. Seeing it in this clip still made the hairs stand on my neck

    I think Clarke was wasted. The man has talent in spades and hardly got to use it.

    Its the first time i have heard the music live since 1987 and it was really very emotional. I’d also go as far as to say i thought Adam Pascal did Pity the Child better than Murray Head from the concept Album

    Overall i loved it and have been champing at the bit for this DVD since the concert ended.

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