Benny Andersson: CHESS Broadway revival on the cards

Former Abba member Benny Andersson has revealed plans to revive his musical Chess on Broadway.

The composer, who penned the show with ex-ABBA band member Bjorn Ulvaeus and lyricist Tim Rice, said discussions were underway to bring back the musical to the US.

He told The Stage: “Someone wants to have another go on Broadway, I am not sure which theatre yet, but I think it will happen.”

Chess, which premiered in the UK in 1986 and ran for three years, opened on Broadway in 1988, but closed after just two months.

Andersson said he blamed a “murdering review” in the New York Times (see link below to the Broadway reviews, starting with the one by Frank Rich to which Benny is referring), and added that the show was “not that bad”.

The musical was recently performed in London at the Royal Albert Hall, starring Josh Groban and Idina Menzel. The concert production was filmed and is currently being shown in cinemas around the UK.

Andersson also said that Kristina, a show which he wrote with Ulvaeus and which premiered in Sweden in 1995, will have a concert performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall next month.

He added he would like to bring the show to London, but said its success would depend on audience reaction.

“We can bring it to the West End and it will be a good performance, but the question is will people like it, will it connect with them? That is the trick,” he said.

A full interview with Andersson can be read in next week’s print edition of The Stage.

Abba’s Andersson reveals plans for Chess revival
icethesite | CHESS on Broadway | Reviews


  • ANY major revival, be it Broadway or London’s West End would be so welcome! Provided it’s a first rate production and the authors’ work is not sacrificed to the ‘vision’ of any director.
    Here’s hoping…

  • i agree Daz

    the ONE thing that is most important – nothing is sacrificed

    it is too precious to be messed with – especially now Tim says he feels satisfied that the most recent presentation (ie RAH) is THE book that works


  • Is Benny talking about bringing Chess to London or Kristina?(sorry not awake yet lol)
    A return of Chess would be most welcome.
    I agree Daz that directors shouldn’t chop and change it…hopefully Benny,Bjorn and Tim could finally sort a final version of Chess.
    I still think Chess and Kristina would make great on location movies…

  • As long as Idina Menzel is not involved…..her voice was all wrong for Florence in the recent concert.

  • WOW! I would love to see Chess on Broadway! But if I’m not mistaken the London version and the US version back in the 80s were like 2 different shows. The storlyine/songs were altered for a US audience. If that is true which version are they going to do? I hope they stick more like the UK production, but I really like the Chess Pa Svenska as well. So we’ll have to wait and see. But it would be awesome to bring it back!

  • If this is going to happen, then surely Adam Pascal should play the American.

  • From what Tim Rice was saying chess in concert will be the model,
    So basically the original show.(I think, never saw the show in london, but presum its like the album)
    I cant wait to see it at the cinema.

  • It looks like thy added an extra screening at the ocean Covent garden , I?m sure when I got my ticket a few weeks ago they said there was two screenings tomorrow there is now three.

  • I went to see chess in concert in shrewsbury last night in a lovely little cinema. It really came alive again on the screen and sounded fantastic!

  • I just got back from seeing Chess in Concert at the Odeon Covent garden.

    How knocked sideways was I to see Tim Rice in the entrance hall of the cinema.
    There was also a lot of very lovey types there that must have been in /worked on it.

    It was brilliant and refreshing to see something that?s the product of an era when they weren?t afraid to take risks,
    Unlike today?s offerings , The Lyon King, Sister act act.

    The ordering of the songs made more sense than the original album,
    And its screaming out to be made in to a feature film with all those locations.

    In 1985 the London production got good reviews,having now seen this brilliant production I can see why ,and I cant imagine why the Americans tampered with

  • I would suggest that a major film would be a good idea.. but with a couple of provisos…

    Opening Ceremony would need to play more like the concept album in order – it looked too much like a revue…

    And – critically – PLEASE get the old ABBA gang back in to record the score. The backing in the concert was pedestrian in places – esp when you compare to the 1984 album when you had Rutger, Janne et al playing, with Mike Tretow mixing it.

    Cameos from EBU bods etc…

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