Chess (musical)

Chess (musical)


Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson
and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves two chess grandmasters,
an American and a Soviet, fighting over a woman who manages one and falls in love with
the other—all in the context of a politically-driven, Cold War-era tournament between the two men. Although the protagonists were not intended
to represent any real individuals, the character of the American grandmaster was loosely based
on Bobby Fischer, while elements of the story may have been inspired by the chess careers
of Russian grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov. A highly successful concept album of Chess
was released in 1984. The first theatrical production of Chess opened
in London’s West End in 1986 and played for three years. A much-altered U.S. version premiered on Broadway
in 1988, but survived only for two months. Chess is frequently revised for new productions,
many of which try to merge elements from both the British and American versions; however,
no major revival production of the musical has yet been attempted either on West End
or Broadway. Chess came seventh in a BBC Radio 2 listener
poll of the U.K.’s “Number One Essential Musicals.” Development
Lyricist Tim Rice had long wanted to create a musical about the Cold War. During the mid-’70s, he had discussed writing
a musical about the Cuban Missile Crisis with his usual collaborator, composer Andrew Lloyd
Webber, but that idea never came to fruition. In the late ’70s, Rice got the idea to tell
his Cold War story through the prism of the long-standing U.S.-Soviet chess rivalry; he
had earlier been fascinated by the political machinations of the 1972 “Match of the Century”
between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. However, when Rice wanted to start working
on the new musical in early 1979, Lloyd Webber was already well underway with his own independent
musical Cats. Subsequently, American producer Richard Vos
suggested to Rice to work with Andersson and Ulvaeus instead, knowing that they were looking
to develop and produce projects outside of ABBA. An ardent fan of the group, Rice agreed. He later wrote that he felt no reservations
because “there is a sense of theatre in the ABBA style”. With Vos also in attendance, Rice met with
the two in Stockholm for the first time on 15 December 1981 in order to discuss the concept,
and they quickly signed on to the project. All through 1983, the three men worked on
the music and lyrics. Rice would describe the mood of particular
songs he wanted, then Andersson and Ulvaeus would write and record the music and send
the tapes to Rice, who would then write lyrics to fit the music, and send the resulting tapes
back to Andersson and Ulvaeus and so on. Some of the songs on the resulting album contained
elements of music Andersson and Ulvaeus had previously written for ABBA. For example, the chorus of “I Know Him So
Well” was based on the chorus of “I Am An A,” a song from their 1977 tour, while the
chorus of “Anthem” used the chord structures from the guitar solo from their 1980 ABBA
song “Our Last Summer”. Ulvaeus would also provide dummy lyrics to
emphasise the rhythmic patterns of the music, and since Rice found a number of these “embarrassingly
good” as they were, incorporated a few in the final version. The most well known example is “One night
in Bangkok makes a hard man humble”. One song, which became “Heaven Help My Heart,”
was recorded with an entire set of lyrics, sung by ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog with the
title “Every Good Man”, although none of the original lyrics from this song were used. Partly to raise money in order to produce
the show in the West End and partly to see how the material would fare with the public,
it was decided to release the music as an album before any stage productions were undertaken,
a strategy that had proven successful with Rice’s two previous musicals, Jesus Christ
Superstar and Evita. Owing in part to the different countries in
which the lyricist and composers resided, recording on the album musical of Chess began
in Stockholm in early November 1983, with Andersson recording the many layered keyboard
parts himself along with other basic work at their usual Polar Studios, and choral and
orchestral work then recorded in London by The Ambrosian Singers along with the London
Symphony Orchestra. The album was then sound-engineered and mixed
back at Polar by longtime ABBA sound engineer Michael B. Tretow. Original album
History The double LP, often referred to as a concept
album or album musical, was released worldwide in the autumn of 1984. Liner notes included with the album featured
a basic synopsis of the story in multiple languages along with song lyrics and numerous
photos. The music on the album was described by The
New York Times as “a sumptuously recorded… grandiose pastiche that touches half a dozen
bases, from Gilbert and Sullivan to late Rodgers and Hammerstein, from Italian opera to trendy
synthesizer-based pop, all of it lavishly arranged for the London Symphony Orchestra
with splashy electronic embellishments”. The album featured Murray Head, Tommy Körberg,
Elaine Paige, and noted actor Denis Quilley in the role of Molokov. A single from the album, “One Night in Bangkok”,
with verses performed by Murray Head and choruses performed by Anders Glenmark, became a worldwide
smash, reaching #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The duet “I Know Him So Well” by Elaine Paige
and Barbara Dickson held the #1 spot on the UK singles charts for 4 weeks, winning the
Ivor Novello Award in the process as the Best Selling Single. In addition, the tune was later covered not
only by Whitney Houston and her mother Cissy as a duet for her sophomore release Whitney,
but also by Barbra Streisand, who recorded it originally for The Broadway Album released
in 1985. However, the track was deleted from the album
due to lack of space and remained unreleased until it was featured on her 1992 album “Highlights
from Just for the Record”. On 27 October 1984, a concert version of the
album was premiered by the original cast in London’s Barbican Centre and then performed
in Hamburg, Amsterdam, and Paris with final presentation on 1 November in Berwaldhallen
in Stockholm. In 1985, music videos were filmed for the
songs “One Night in Bangkok”, “Nobody’s Side”, “The Arbiter”, “I Know Him So Well,” and “Pity
the Child”, featuring the performers from the album and directed by David G Hillier. These were released together in a VHS video
entitled Chess Moves. Critical reception
The original concept album received critical accolades, with Rolling Stone raving that
the “dazzling score covers nearly all the pop bases”, Kurt Ganzl’s Blackwell Guide to
the Musical Theatre on Record telling readers about the “thrilling exposition of an exciting
piece of modern musical theater occurring before the event” and Time declaring that
the “rock symphonic synthesis was ripe with sophistication and hummable tunes”. The album became a Top 10 hit in the UK, West
Germany and South Africa, reached #47 on the US Billboard 200, #39 in France, #35 in Australia,
and for seven weeks remained at #1 on the Swedish album chart due in no small part to
the composers’ Swedish heritage. The recording also received several prestigious
awards, including the Goldene Europa from Germany, the Edison Award from the Netherlands,
and the Rockbjörn from Sweden. Principal cast
The American –Murray Head The Russian –Tommy Körberg
Florence –Elaine Paige Molokov –Denis Quilley
The Arbiter –Björn Skifs Svetlana –Barbara Dickson
The protagonists, simply called the “American” and the “Russian” for the original album,
were sung by Murray Head and Tommy Körberg respectively. The part of Florence, initially the American’s
second and subsequently the Russian’s lover, was sung by Elaine Paige, whilst the part
of the Russian’s wife Svetlana was sung by Barbara Dickson. Track listing
British stage version History of the original West End production
Chess premièred in London’s West End on 14 May 1986 at the Prince Edward Theatre and
closed on 8 April 1989. The original production was originally set
to be directed by Michael Bennett; however, after casting the show and commissioning the
expansive set and costume designs, he withdrew from the project due to health reasons. Shortly afterward on 2 July 1987 Bennett died
from AIDS-related lymphoma at the age of 44. The show was rescued by director Trevor Nunn,
who with considerable technical difficulty eventually shepherded the show on to its scheduled
opening. The three principal singers from the concept
album, Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg and Murray Head reprised their roles on stage, however
due to prior commitments, Barbara Dickson was unable to appear. Siobhán McCarthy played the part of Svetlana
as a result. According to set designer Robin Wagner, as
interviewed for the book Set Design, by author Lynn Pecktal, the original Bennett version
was to be a “multimedia” show, with an elaborate tilting floor, banks of television monitors,
and other technological touches. Realizing he could never bring Bennett’s
vision to fruition, Nunn applied his realistic style to the show instead, although the basics
of the mammoth set design were still present in the final production. These included three videowalls, the main
of which featured commentary from chess master William Hartston, and appearances from various
BBC newsreaders rounding out the package. The London version expanded the storyline
of the concept album, adding considerable new recitative, and attracted several West
End stars, such as Anthony Head, Grania Renihan, Ria Jones, David Burt, and Peter Karrie, during
its three-year run, and was a massive physical undertaking, with estimated costs up to $12
million. Eight months later, the nomination and a win
came in for the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical, and the show received three
1986 Laurence Olivier Award nominations for Best Musical, Outstanding Performance by an
Actor and Outstanding Performance by an Actress as well. In the categories of Best Musical and Outstanding
Performance by an Actor, Chess lost to The Phantom of the Opera, by Rice’s former collaborator
Andrew Lloyd Webber. Critical reception
The premiere of the musical provoked an overall mixed to favourable verdict from the critics
and, according to Variety, created “one of the bigger West End mob scenes in recent memory”. Most of the naysaying notices had comments
ranging from “far too long” and “shallow, improbable story masquerading as a serious
musical” from The Sunday Times to The Guardian’s conclusion that, “A musical is only as good
as its book, and here one is confronted by an inchoate mess.” Other newspapers posted rave reviews however. The Daily Telegraph wrote that the show was
“gift-wrapped and gorgeous…compels admiration,” The Times noted that “it turns out to be a
fine piece of work that shows the dinosaur mega-musical evolving into an intelligent
form of life” and Today called it “gripping, eye-catching.. nearly a major triumph”. In addition, Michael Ratcliffe wrote in Observer
that the “operetta plot which would have delighted a mature Lehar is dramatised in a buoyant,
eclectic and stirring theatre-score” and called Körberg “the indisputable star of the show”. Sheridan Morley in International Herald Tribune
complimented the show’s “remarkably coherent dramatic shape” and “staging of considerable
intelligence and invention”. Plot summary
Act 1 The president of the International Chess Federation—The
Arbiter—speculates on the origins of the game of chess before announcing the location
of the upcoming world chess championship: Merano, Italy. As the townsfolk prepare for the occasion,
the current world champion, Freddie Trumper of the United States, arrives with his second
and presumed lover: Hungarian-born, English-raised Florence Vassy. Florence derides Freddie for his bad boy attitude
and brash behavior, which immediately gets out of hand when he assaults a journalist
who questions his relationship with Florence. Meanwhile, Freddie’s Soviet Russian challenger,
Anatoly Sergievsky, bickers with his own second, the scheming Molokov. Afterwards, in private, Anatoly cynically
reflects on the selling out of his dreams to get to where he is today. The opening ceremony features the American
and Soviet delegates each vowing their side will win, The Arbiter insisting on a clean
game, and marketers looking to make a profit. During the increasingly intense match, Freddie
suddenly throws the chessboard to the floor and storms out of the arena, leaving Florence
to negotiate with Anatoly, Molokov, and The Arbiter, eventually promising to retrieve
Freddie. It turns out that Freddie engineered the outburst
in the hopes of extracting more money from his sponsor, an American sensationalist media
company called Global Television, though Walter—the company’s representative in Freddie’s delegation—criticizes
the stunt as ludicrous. Florence later scolds Freddie, and they fight
about the politics of the tournament until he viciously turns the argument toward her
missing father, believed captured or killed by Soviet forces during the 1956 Hungarian
Revolution. She laments the situation alone before heading
off to the Merano Mountain Inn for the reconciliatory meeting she has scheduled between Freddie
and Anatoly. Freddie does not immediately turn up, though,
leaving Anatoly and Florence awkwardly alone together; however, they eventually embrace
as romantic feelings arise before being finally interrupted by Freddie, who was working out
new financial terms with Global TV. The chess tournament proceeds. Distracted by the loss of Florence’s love,
however, Freddie flounders, leaving himself just one more loss away from losing his title. Due to Freddie’s atrocious attitude, Florence
finally deserts him, whereby Freddie ponders how his unhappy childhood left him the man
he is today. He sends The Arbiter a letter of resignation,
resulting in Anatoly’s becoming the new world champion. Anatoly immediately defects from the Soviet
Union and seeks asylum at the British embassy. Florence, accompanying Anatoly, reflects on
their newfound romance. Meanwhile, Walter tips off the press about
this scandal. When the mob of reporters ambush Anatoly and
ask why he is deserting his country, he tells them that his land’s only borders lie around
his heart and, thus, that love is all that matters. Act 2
A year later, Anatoly is set to defend his championship in Bangkok, Thailand. Freddie is already there, chatting up locals
and experiencing the Bangkok nightlife; he is Global TV’s official commentator for the
tournament. Florence and Anatoly are now openly lovers,
and worry about Freddie’s sudden reappearance as well as the impending arrival of Anatoly’s
estranged wife, Svetlana, from Russia, which Anatoly suspects is part of Molokov’s plan
to shame him into returning to the Soviet Union. Molokov, meanwhile, has trained a new protégé,
Leonid Viigand, to challenge, defeat, and humiliate Anatoly. Walter, now Freddie’s boss, manipulates Freddie
into embarrassing Anatoly on live TV during an eventually heated interview between them. Molokov, who indeed is responsible for Svetlana’s
presence in Bangkok, blackmails her into urging Anatoly to throw the match. Walter, who has been promised the release
of certain captured American agents if he can ruin Anatoly’s performance, informs Florence
that her father is still alive though imprisoned, and that he too will be released if she can
convince Anatoly to lose. Despite Molokov and Walter’s efforts, none
of their ploys work to get Anatoly to throw the game. As a result, Molokov and Walter team up to
get Freddie to personally persuade Anatoly and Florence, knowing that Freddie is vengeful
toward Anatoly and interested in winning back the love of Florence; however, Freddie’s attempts
also fail. Surprisingly, Svetlana and Florence end up
bonding over their respective relationships with Anatoly. Florence ultimately admits that it would be
best for Anatoly to return to his children and Svetlana. Anatoly, meanwhile, follows an anonymous letter
guiding him to Wat Pho, where Freddie appears, having decided to merely facilitate a brilliant
match, regardless of his own personal conflicts with Anatoly. Because of this new change in attitude, Freddie
informs Anatoly of a significant flaw in Viigand’s strategy that will help Anatoly win. In the deciding game of the match, with the
score tied at five games all, Svetlana castigates Anatoly for wallowing in the crowd’s empty
praise and Florence expresses similar annoyance with him for casting aside his ideals; regardless,
Anatoly achieves a superb victory against Viigand. Later, Florence confesses her feelings that
he should return to his family in the Soviet Union. The pair reflects on the conclusion of their
romance. Walter later approaches Florence with the
news that Anatoly has defected back to the U.S.S.R., meaning that her father will certainly
be released. He startlingly admits, however, that no one
actually knows if her father is still alive. Florence breaks down, telling Walter that
he is using people’s lives for nothing, and she sadly recognizes the truth of Anatoly’s
earlier sentiment that only love matters. Original West End cast
Frederick Trumper, The American – Murray Head
Florence Vassy – Elaine Paige Anatoly Sergievsky, The Russian – Tommy
Körberg Alexander Molokov – John Turner
Walter de Courcey – Kevin Colson The Arbiter – Tom Jobe
Svetlana Sergievsky – Siobhán McCarthy Mayor of Merano – Richard Mitchell
T.V. Presenter – Peter Karrie Civil Servants – Richard Lyndon, Paul Wilson
Songs † The multiple songs listed here are often
merged on recordings into a single track.‡ Song is alternately titled “U.S. vs U.S.S.R.”§
This song actually originated with the American version of the musical, but has since been
also included in productions and recordings otherwise adhering to the British version. American stage version
History of the original Broadway production After West End, the creative team decided
that the show had to be completely reimagined from the top down, leading to a second major
stage version of the musical, with considerable differences from the British version in both
plot and music. Trevor Nunn brought in playwright Richard
Nelson to recreate the musical as a straightforward “book show” for New York’s Broadway audiences. Nunn brought in new, younger principals after
he disqualified Paige from the role of Florence by insisting Nelson recreate the character
as an American. The story changed drastically, with different
settings, characters, and many different plot elements, although the basic plot remained
the same. As Benny Andersson put it to Variety: “The
main difference between London and here is that in London there is only about two or
three minutes of spoken dialog. Here, in order to clarify some points, it
is almost one-third dialog”. The changes necessitated the score to be reordered
as well, and comparisons of the Broadway cast recording and the original concept album reveal
the dramatic extent of the changes. Robin Wagner completely redesigned the set,
which featured a ground-breaking design of mobile towers that shifted continuously throughout
the show, in an attempt to give it a sense of cinematic fluidity. The first preview on 11 April 1988 ran 4 hours
with an unexpected 90 minute intermission; by opening night on 28 April, it was down
to 3 hours 15 minutes. But despite a healthy box-office advance,
the Broadway production did not manage to sustain a consistently large audience and
closed on 25 June, after 17 previews and 68 regular performances. “And there I was, on closing night, singing
and sobbing along,” later wrote Time magazine critic Richard Corliss. Overall, the show since its opening, according
to Variety, “has been doing moderate business, mainly on the strength of theater party advances,”
but by mid-June it mostly have been used up. Gerald Schoenfeld, co-producer of the show,
elaborated on the reasons for folding the production: “The musical had been playing
to about 80 percent capacity, which is considered good, but about 50 percent of the audience
have held special, half-priced tickets. If we filled the house at 100 percent at half
price, we’d go broke and I haven’t seen any surge of tourist business yet this season. The show needs a $350,000 weekly gross to
break even, but only a few weeks since its April 28 opening have reached that…. You have to consider what your grosses are
going to be in the future”. The Broadway production picked up several
major award nominations. It got five nods from the Drama Desk Awards:
Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Featured
Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lighting Design. Carroll and Kuhn also received Tony Award
nominations in Leading Actor in a Musical and Leading Actress in a Musical categories. None of the nominations resulted in the win,
but Philip Casnoff did receive the 1988 Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance. Original Broadway Cast recording of the musical
was nominated for 1988 Grammy Award in the category Best Musical Cast Show Album. Later on, the musical had developed a cult
following based primarily on the score as heard on the original concept album, while
Nelson’s book became a frequent target of scorn from critics and fans alike, though
it still has its supporters. Many subsequent attempts have been made to
fix its perceived problems, but nonetheless, Nelson’s book is still used in many American
productions, because a contractual stipulation, ostensibly, prevents the London version, which
many believe to be the source of the show’s popularity and appeal, from being performed
within the United States. However, the May–June 2011 production in
Charlotte, North Carolina, relied much more heavily on the British version than the American
version, and was very similar to the 2010-2011 UK touring version. In 2001, in an interview with the San Francisco
Chronicle Tim Rice admitted that after the “comparative failure of Chess, his all-time
favourite, he became disillusioned with theatre.” He commented, “It may sound arrogant, but
Chess is as good as anything I’ve ever done. And maybe it costs too much brainpower for
the average person to follow it”. Critical reception
Many critics panned the show, most notably Frank Rich of The New York Times, who wrote
that “the evening has the theatrical consistency of quicksand” and described it as “a suite
of temper tantrums, [where] the characters … yell at one another to rock music”. Howard Kissel of New York Daily News complained
that “the show is shrilly overamplified” and “neither of the love stories is emotionally
involving”, while Newsweek magazine called the show a “Broadway’s monster” and opined
that “Chess assaults the audience with a relentless barrage of scenes and numbers that are muscle-bound
with self-importance”. A few reviewers, however, praised it highly. William A. Henry III wrote an exceptionally
sympathetic review in Time: “Clear narrative drive, Nunn’s cinematic staging, three superb
leading performances by actors willing to be complex and unlikeable and one of the best
rock scores ever produced in the theater. This is an angry, difficult, demanding and
rewarding show, one that pushes the boundaries of the form”. His sentiments were echoed by William K. Gale
in Providence Journal: “A show with a solid, even wonderfully old-fashioned story that
still has a bitter-sweet, rough-edged view of the world … exciting, dynamic theater
… a match of wit and passion.” Richard Christiansen of Chicago Tribune suggested
that “Chess falters despite new strategy,” yet concluded his review: “Audiences forgive
a lot of failings when they find a show that touches them with its music, and Chess, clumsy
and overblown as it sometimes is in its three hours-plus running time, gives them that heart”. Welton Jones wrote in The San Diego Union-Tribune
that Chess “has one of the richest, most exciting scores heard on Broadway in years … Sadly,
the music has been encumbered with an overwritten book and an uninspired staging … Truly,
this is a score to be treasured, held ransom by a questionable book and production”. All critics agreed, though, on the three leading
performances by Judy Kuhn, David Carroll and Philip Casnoff. They were showered with praise — “splendid
and gallant”, “powerful singers”, “remarkably fine” — especially Kuhn, whose performance
Variety called a “show’s chief pleasure”. Benny Andersson commented on the negative
Broadway reviews: “I really don’t know why they don’t like it … I do know that most
of the audiences so far stand up and cheer for everyone at the end. They appear to get emotionally involved with
the show, and they really like it”. Plot summary
The play’s American incarnation has noticeably different settings, lyrics, song orders, and
sometimes whole songs—and a completely different Act 2—from the British version. In particular, in the American Chess the entire
show is about one chess match, not two. Act 1 involves the first part of the match,
which is held in Bangkok, Thailand, while Act 2 handles the conclusion, and is set in
Budapest, Hungary. Also, the incumbent champion is switched in
the American version as is the winner of the Sergievsky-Trumper tournament. Prologue
In 1956, a Hungarian revolutionary, Gregor Vassy, calmly explains to his 4-year-old daughter,
Florence, the history of chess, before the two are separated in the midst of a violent
rebellion in Budapest. Act 1
Decades later at an international chess tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, the wild-tempered American
challenger, Freddie Trumper, arrives with his second and presumed lover: a now-adult
Florence. At a press meeting, they encounter their opponent:
the current world champion—a Soviet Russian named Anatoly Sergievsky, who is escorted
by his second, the scheming Molokov. Afterwards, in private, Anatoly cynically
reflects on how his career as world champion has been characterized by empty fame. Meanwhile, Florence complains to Freddie that
her intellectual capabilities are under-appreciated. The opening ceremony features merchandise
vendors and Walter, Freddie’s financial agent, relishing in the tournament’s money-making
opportunities; the American and Soviet delegates each vowing their side will win; and the beginning
of the tournament’s first round. When Anatoly begins eating yogurt during the
match, Freddie accuses him of cheating before storming out of the arena, leaving Florence
to negotiate with the tournament’s Arbiter, Molokov, and Anatoly, eventually promising
to retrieve Freddie. Florence later scolds Freddie, and they fight
about the tournament’s politics until he viciously turns the argument toward her missing
father; alone, Florence begins to realize her need to abandon Freddie. Supposed to head off to the Bangkok Hilton
Hotel for the reconciliatory meeting Florence has scheduled between Freddie and Anatoly,
Freddie is sidetracked by the nightlife, leaving Anatoly and Florence awkwardly alone together;
however, they eventually embrace as romantic feelings arise before being finally interrupted
by Freddie. When Freddie accuses Florence of conspiring
against him, she finally leaves him. Anatoly apologizes for the yogurt incident
and Freddie returns to the match, but only after a hefty bribe. Distracted by the loss of Florence’s love,
however, Freddie flounders, finishing the most recent round with one win and five losses;
one more loss will cost him the match. Meanwhile, Walter secretly arranges for Anatoly
to defect from the Soviet Union to the United States, but when a mob of reporters ambush
Anatoly and ask why he is deserting his country, he tells them that his land’s only borders
lie around his heart and, thus, that love is all that matters. Act 2
Eight weeks later, everyone is in Budapest to witness the conclusion of the match between
Anatoly and Freddie. Florence and Anatoly are now openly lovers,
and Florence is elated to be back in her hometown, but dismayed that she remembers none of it. Molokov offers to help her find her missing
father and starts “investigating.” Freddie, who has begun to feel liberated from
Florence, is confident that he will win. Now Anatoly has become the emotionally burdened
one, with Molokov plotting to force him to return to the Soviet Union by threatening
his brother’s family. Even Svetlana, Anatoly’s estranged wife, has
been flown into Budapest to pressure him into going back, which of course also strains Anatoly’s
relationship with Florence. Molokov and Walter, both revealing themselves
as secret agents interested in exchanging key individuals, collaborate to achieve their
separate goals, and Molokov reveals that Florence’s father is alive in Budapest. Florence, meanwhile, confronts Svetlana but,
surprisingly, they end up bonding over their respective relationships with Anatoly. Anatoly is beginning to break down from Molokov
and Walter’s manipulations, leaving the score tied at five games all, and so Florence
begs Freddie to postpone the final round. Freddie refuses and privately contemplates
how his unhappy childhood left him the man he is today. In the meantime, Molokov brings Florence to
see a man claiming to be her father and the two joyously reconnect, but Molokov implies
that harm will come to the man if Florence remains with Anatoly. In the deciding game of the match, Anatoly
resolves to ensure that Florence is reunited with her father. He thus chooses to recant his defection and
makes a tactical error during the game. Freddie immediately takes advantage of the
blunder and proceeds to win the tournament, becoming the new world champion. Florence and Anatoly reflect on the conclusion
of their romance. Florence is left alone to wait for her father
when she is approached by Walter, who confesses that the old man is not her father and her
father is most likely dead. It seems that Molokov struck a deal with Walter
that if the Russians managed to get Anatoly back, they would release a captured American
spy; using Florence, they succeeded. Florence has now left Freddie, been abandoned
by Anatoly, and lost the father she never had, and she sadly recognizes the truth of
Anatoly’s earlier sentiment that only love matters. Original Broadway cast
Frederick Trumper, The American – Philip Casnoff
Florence Vassy – Judy Kuhn Anatoly Sergievsky, The Russian – David
Carroll Ivan Molokov – Harry Goz
Walter Anderson – Dennis Parlato Arbiter – Paul Harman
Svetlana Sergievsky – Marcia Mitzman Gregor Vassy – Neal Ben-Ari
Young Florence – Gina Gallagher Nikolai – Kurt Jones
Joe and Harold – Richard Muenz and Eric Johnson
Ben – Kip Niven Songs
† This song appears on the Broadway cast album, but was deleted from production and
is not found in the script licensed for production.‡ This song features in productions, but was
unrecorded for the Broadway album.§ Several songs in the American version are sometimes
identified by alternative titles. “Freddie’s Entrance” is also called “What
a Scene! What a Joy!”; “U.S. vs. U.S.S.R.” called “Diplomats”;
“Florence Quits” called “So You Got What You Want”; “Anatoly and the Press” called “Reporters”;
“No Contest” called “Winning”; and “A Whole New Board Game” called “Freddie Goes Metal.” Miscellaneous productions, concerts, and recordings
List of miscellaneous productions, concerts, and recordings Main characters
Differences among the major versions References External links
Chess at the Internet Broadway Database icethesite — Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus
news site, including West End and Broadway reviews of Chess
Plot summary & casting breakdown Chess the Musical 2010
Chess musical

One thought on “Chess (musical)

  1. tja, eigentlich hatte ich erwartet, die Musik des Musicals zu hören und nicht eine nette Frauenstimme, die mich darüber bloß informiert. g

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