Chess could be headed for a Broadway return, according to Tim Rice

Get your knights and Cold War history books ready because chess might go back to Broadway. Lyricist Tim Rice talked about a possible lead vocal return for the 1986 musical on a recent episode of his podcast, Go to my cloudsaying “the team is in place.”

“All in all, despite countless beatings, chess has more than held its own on the stages of the world. And we plan to come back to Broadway pretty soon one day. A team in place.” Rice goes on to say that Netflix’s success The Queen’s Gambit makes him excited to bring chess also to the screen. No further details were provided.

With music by Rice and ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, chess revolves around a Cold War chess tournament between an American and a Soviet Russianand a love triangle involving both of them.

The work began as a successful 1984 concept album starring Murray Head, Tommy Körberg, Elaine Paige, Dennis Quilley, Björn Skifs and Barbara Dickson. The musical made its debut in London’s West End in 1986, with Paige, Körberg and Head reprising their performances from the album. The production faced many challenges, including the original director, Michael Bennett, who dropped out due to health reasons. After mixed reviews, a heavily revised version of the musical opened on Broadway in 1988, where it closed after only 68 performances.

although chess was not yet a huge commercial success on stage, it has become a cult favorite for many theater fans. In the years since its Broadway premiere, the work has had multiple tours, a one-night Broadway concert in 2003 and, most notably, a two-night concert production at London’s Royal Albert Hall with Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel and Josh. in the lead. Groban. The latter concert was released as an album and broadcast on PBS.

More recently, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, staged a 2018 production of a new book by Danny Strong, directed by Michael Mayer and starring Raúl Esparza, Ramin Karimloo, Karen Olivo, Ruthie Ann Miles, Bradley Dean, and Bryce Pinkham. Although originally announced as a pre-Broadway engagement, a transfer to New York has not yet been announced.

Listen to the full episode here.


Look Back at Judy Kuhn, David Carroll and More in Chess on Broadway

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