Chess Musical is a beloved musical to many, and with its international success it's no wonder. When it premiered in the mid-'80s, its fresh combination of classical music and pop created an instant sensation. From its dazzling sets to its stirring soundtrack, Chess put a unique twist on the traditional musical. But what is the story behind this beloved classic? To fully appreciate Chess and its timeless music, let's take a closer look at the musical's creation and background.
The only chess musical written so far is here, and if you want to know everything about this masterpiece we invite you to continue reading this incredible article with which you can understand everything about Chess Musical.
Origins of Chess Musical
Chess Musical was composed by the legendary Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, with story and lyrics by Tim Rice. It was first performed in 1984 and very successfully ran for over two years in the West End before the show was transferred to Broadway. Since then, the show has had numerous productions in various countries. In terms of backstory, the musical Chess is based loosely on the legendary World Chess Championship 1972 match between American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer and Soviet Grandmaster Boris Spassky, as well as on the strained political atmosphere of the Cold War.
This drama centered on chess is a play that you should not miss if you are really interested in entertainment and with a theme as important as chess. There are some fragments of Chess Musical on Youtube and other social networks, however, it is necessary that you live the experience of the theater, the stage and all the incredible music with which they have managed to enter the hearts of many chess players.
Plot Overview Chess Musical
Chess tells the story of two grandmasters, an American and a Soviet, who battle in a politically charged chess tournament. Adding a romantic element to the story is the beautiful Florence, a Hungarian refugee in London who manages one of the grandmasters and falls in love with the other. As their game of chess intensifies, the politics, rivalry and love between the three become increasingly intertwined.
The musical includes several iconic pop and rock ballads along with some classical music pieces. For example, the musical includes the instantly recognizable “One Night in Bangkok,” which reached the UK Top 10. Other songs like “Anthem” capture the tense political atmosphere between the grandmasters, while “I Know Him So Well” reveals the romantic connection between Florence and the American grandmaster. All of the music contributes to Chess's international success, and many of the tracks have been beloved by listeners for decades.
Since its original run in the mid-'80s, Chess Musical has seen countless successes on stage. Its first production opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre, and the original soloists from the recording of the musical—Murray Head, Elaine Page, and Tommy Cherberg—gave remarkable performances. Meanwhile, the innovative televised video installments further added to the show's onstage impact. More recently, in October 2020, the musical made its first appearance in Moscow, at the MDM Theatre.
Chess is truly an international marvel, combining political intrigue, romance, and classical and pop music into one truly original piece. Since its debut in the mid-'80s, the show has seen tremendous success on stage and remains popular to this day. Thanks to the hard work of its talented composers and songwriters, Chess Musical will surely stand the test of time and remain a favorite of many.
In the meantime, if you want to know more about Bobby Fischer we invite you to read this article.