In some amazing #StageFaves news, the ENO have announced that their next musical theatre production will be the first major West End revival of CHESS in over 30 years. The original production starred Elaine Paige and Murray Head, the 2008 Royal Albert Hall concert featured Idina Menzel and Kerry Ellis, and previous musicals here have attracted the likes of Alfie Boe and Glenn Close - which of your #StagesFaves would you like to see in this new revival?
CHESS, the epic musical love story set amid the tensions of a world championship chess match, will play at the London Coliseum for a strictly limited 5 week run from Thursday 26 April 2018 - tickets go on public sale on Friday 3 November from 10am.
This will be the first West End revival since the original 1986 production, which starred Elaine Paige, Murray Head and Tommy Korberg. That production, which ran for three years at the Prince Edward Theatre, followed a highly successful recording featuring the same stars, and included the international hit singles I Know Him So Well and One Night In Bangkok. Other well-known songs from the score include Anthem, Someone Else’s Story, Heaven Help my Heart and Pity The Child.
The musical, written in 1984 by ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Evita), tells a story of love and political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s/early 1980s, in which superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends. Two of the world’s greatest chess masters, one American, one Russian, are in danger of becoming the pawns of their governments as their battle for the world title gets under way. Simultaneously their lives are thrown into further confusion by a Hungarian refugee, a remarkable woman who becomes the centre of their emotional triangle. This mirrors the heightened passions of the political struggles that threaten to destroy lives and loves.
This new West End production, featuring English National Opera’s award-winning Orchestra and Chorus, will be directed by Laurence Connor, whose recent credits include School of Rock and Miss Saigon on Broadway and in the West End, Les Misérables on Broadway, and the international Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour. Choreography is by Stephen Mear. This is the fourth production in collaboration with ENO by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade, who brought Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, Carousel with Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins and Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel to the London Coliseum, the home of ENO. Michael Linnit and Michael Grade also produced 42nd Street, currently playing at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The show’s reputation has never been higher; there have been countless versions produced all over the world. The return of the sensational score to the London stage is an important and exciting musical theatre prospect.
Casting of the lead roles is to be announced shortly.