23 years later, PBS plays ‘Chess’
By Scott D. Pierce
Deseret News
Published: Monday, June 15, 2009 7:04 p.m. MDT

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — You could say that the first time “Chess” crossed the Atlantic, it was not exactly a big hit. But that would be a huge understatement.

“The Broadway show didn’t do particularly well,” said lyricist Tim Rice. “In fact, the word I’m looking for is disaster, I think.”

This, despite the efforts of Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Golden Globe-winning lyricist Rice (“Evita,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and songwriters Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson — better known as the male half of ABBA.

Rice teamed up with Andersson and Ulvaeus in 1986 to create “Chess,” a musical — or was it an opera? — set at a chess tournament at the height of the Cold War. It revolves around an American chess champion, his lover and a Russian opponent secretly planning to defect to the West.

A concert version of “Chess,” headlined by Josh Groban, Idina Menzel (“Wicked”) and Adam Pascal (“Rent”) and taped in London’s Royal Albert Hall, airs Wednesday at 7 p.m. on PBS/Ch. 7.

There are some familiar songs, including “One Night in Bangkok,” “Anthem” and “I Know Him So Well,” and Rice sees this as a chance for “Chess” to redeem itself.

Here is the full article.

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