Casting announced for West End return of Chess
The first major West End production of Chess since 1986 is to star Michael Ball (Mack and Mabel, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray) as Anatoly, Alexandra Burke (The Bodyguard, Sister Act) as Svetlana, original cast member Murray Head (Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar) as the Arbitar, Tim Howar (Mike and the Mechanics, Rock of Ages) as Freddie, and Cassidy Janson (Beautiful, Avenue Q) as Florence. This epic musical love story opens at the London Coliseum Thursday 26 April 2018 for a strictly limited 5 week season.
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. Includes 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’.
Featuring English National Opera’s award-winning Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by John Rigby with choreography by Stephen Mear. This new West End production 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. This is the fourth production by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade in collaboration with ENO.