Watching Chess In Concert on PBS’s Great Performances, over breakfast this morning, had me longing for a full-scale revival of the 80s rock musical. The score by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson is nothing short of epic and Tim Rice’s intricate lyrics demand careful repeat listens.
I’ve listened to the original album with Elaine Paige and Murray Head countless times, but had never seen it performed before. This version was staged in May of 2008 in London, starring Josh Groban (Anatoly), Idina Menzel (Florence), and Adam Pascal (Freddie) and is now available on CD and DVD.
While the show’s American run was a flop, the original London version ran for three years and the original concept album has attracted a major cult following.
Locally, Applause! Musical Society did a concert rendition of Chess in 2003 (which I missed). I’m crossing my fingers in the hopes that a Vancouver theatre company might dare to take on Chess sometime in the future.