The “definitive” version of CHESS to premiere at London’s Union Theatre
CHESS is on its way back to London! A brand new production is set to hit the city in February 2013.
The original West End production of CHESS opened in May 1986. It featured many hit songs including One Night in Bangkok and I Know Him So Well and ran for nearly three years, before being reworked for a misconceived Broadway debut that saw the show close after a mere eight weeks.
Multiple versions have since been staged around the world, using the hit songs as their basis but Sir Tim Rice who co-wrote the original musical with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, expressed a determination to create an English-language version with his official seal of approval.
“To think that the magnificent music of Björn and Benny had only been known to the world for ten years when we embarked upon CHESS is extraordinary. The world now knows that their music is timeless and lasting.” he said.
When the updated work was first performed in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2008, Sir Tim (who is to receive a special prize for his outstanding contribution to musical theatre at this year’s Olivier Awards), called it “the definitive version” of the story.
“In essence, CHESS is as it was in 1984,” he stated.
Sir Tim Rice, has now given the Union Theatre exclusive permission to use the new adaptation to mount a fully staged version of this epic musical.
The story involves a romantic triangle between two players in a World Chess Championship, and a woman who manages one of them 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.
The new stage version, which runs from 13 February (including two preview nights before the premiere on 15 February) to 16 March 2013.
The musical will feature a cast of sixteen drawn from the West End and Broadway including Phantom of the Opera‘s Sarah Galbraith (Florence), and Nadim Naaman (Anatoly), Jesus Christ Superstar’s Tim Oxbrow (Freddie), and Spring Awakening‘s Natasha Barnes (Svetlana).
The Union Theatre is a tiny venue, with only around 50 seats available per performance so if you want to go and see this brand new adaptation, you had better make your move soon (link to ticket office below) as performances are selling out already.