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NEW YORK - Imperial Theatre
17 Previews. Opened April 28, 1988. Closed June 25, 1988
The Shubert Organization, 3 Knights Ltd, Robert Fox, Ltd present

CHESS
a new musical

music by BENNY ANDERSSON - BJÖRN ULVAEUS
lyrics by TIM RICE
based on an idea by TIM RICE
Book by RICHARD NELSON

Cast

FLORENCE VASSY................Judy Kuhn
ANATOLY SERGIEVSKY......David Carroll
FREDDIE TRUMPER............Philip Casnoff
MOLOKOV..............................Harry Goz
WALTER..................................Dennis Parlato
SVETLANA SERGIEVSKY....Marcia Mitzman
THE ARBITER........................Paul Harman
The Company: John Aller, Neal Ben-Ari, Suzanne Briar, Steve Clemente, Katherine Lynne Condit, Ann Crumb, David Cryer, R.F. Daley, Gina Gallagher, Deborah Geneviere, Kurt Johns, Eric Johnson, Paul Laureano, Rosemary Loar, Judy McLane, Jessica Molaskey, Richard Muenz, Kip Niven, Francis Ruivivar, Alex Santoriello, Wysandria Woolsey, Karen Babcock, Craig Wells.

Directed by Trevor Nunn
Scenic Design by Robin Wagner
Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge
Lighting Design by David Hersey
Sound Design by Andrew Bruce
Musical Director and Supervisor Paul Bogaev
Orchestrations and Arrangements by Anders Eljas
Executive Producers Gatchell & Newfeld Ltd.
Production Stage Manager Alan Hall
Casting by Johnson-Liff & Zerman
Hair and Make-Up Design by Schubert & DiNiro
Dance Staging by Lynne Taylor-Corbett


Synopsis and Musical Numbers (click on song titles for lyrics and photos)

ACT ONE
The 1956 Hungarian Revolution is evoked by a smoke-, gunshot- and explosion-filled prologue. During this, the young Florence is introduced to the game by her father ("The Story of Chess"). In present day Bangkok, Freddie is abusive to everyone and is in relentless pursuit of money ("Press Conference"). Anatoly is frustrated by his ennui and his handlers ("Where I Want to Be"). His relationship with Florence is sexless and unpleasant ("How Many Women"). The merchandisers are lunging after every buck ("Merchandisers Song") and "U.S. vs U.S.S.R." now reflects glasnost("Chess Hymn"). The first game of the match is halted when Freddie accuses Anatoly of getting signals via the flavor of his yogurt. The "Quartet" is sung in front of a bank of elevators formed by the restless towers. Florence wishes she had the strength to leave Freddie("You Want to Lose Your Only Friend?"), but feels her life is "Someone Else's Story." Freddie gets drunk ("One Night in Bangkok"). The formerly Alpine duet now takes place on a shadowy terrace ("Terrace Duet"). When Freddie catches Florence in Anatoly's arms, Anatoly immediately apologizes. Freddie's not happy about it, but he accepts because a fan has offered him $100,000 to continue the match. The play resumes and Florence tries to make things up with Freddie but he's abusive ("So You Got What You Want"). She realizes she's on "Nobody's Side" and moves out of his suite. In the middle of play, Anatoly defects with Walter's help. He grabs Florence almost as an afterthought and they escape in an underground parking garage. At the airport, CIA agents regale Anatoly with the virtues of both U.S. coasts ("East/West"). Suddenly, Anatoly is confronted by the press ("Anthem").

ACT TWO
The second act picks up in the Bangkok airport where the Arbiter sings the "Arbiter's Song" to a group of bewildered passengers (the song was cut shortly after opening). He leaves for Budapest, where the match is to resume after a two-month hiatus. A choir practices a "Hungarian Folk Song" at the Budapest airport for the dignitaries who will arrive for a Summit meeting. Florence tries to find familiar landmarks in the city of her birth, which is agog over an upcoming summit meeting. After Anatoly runs into a group of Russian friends from Moscow, she wonders about the future of their relationship ("Heaven Help My Heart"). Freddie hates his room, hates Budapest and makes snide remarks to the press. Walter tries to calm him down but he embarks on a vicious fantasy about Florence's sex life. Walter asks for a favor but Freddie yells at him too. They eventually agree winning is the only thing ("No Contest"). Being in Eastern Europe has made Florence and Anatoly's relationship more difficult, though they cling to their dreams ("You and I"). Meanwhile, Molokov brings Svetlana to Budapest to put pressure on Anatoly. She obviously still loves him and can't bear to hear about Florence ("You and I (reprise)"). Molokov regales Anatoly with horrible tales of what has happened to his relatives since his defection and how he has been officially defamed. Anatoly's distraught and alone. Molokov and Walter make a deal: Molokov will take Florence to her father if Walter will help him get Anatoly back ("Let's Work Together"). In a restaurant, Florence tries to calm the distraught Anatoly when Molokov comes in with Svetlana. The two women confront each other on the terrace ("I Know Him So Well") while Walter tells Anatoly about Florence's father, making him believe his presence in her life is hurting her. Anatoly's near a breakdown. Florence begs Freddie to agree to a postponement, but he flings sexual abuse at her then vents his anger to a reporter ("Pity the Child"). Molokov takes Florence to meet a man he says is her father and they have a tender reunion ("Lullaby"). "Endgame" begins without Anatoly. He finally appears and loses to help Florence. At the airport, Florence and Anatoly have their last moments together("You and I (reprise)"). She's waiting for her father, but he isn't there. Walter tells her the man she met isn't her father at all; Anatoly was exchanged for an American spy. She collapses in tears.

Souvenirs & Promotional Material
Commentary
Vanity Fair exposé of the pre-Broadway infighting
The Reviews
Blank Theatre Company production
Rockville Music Theatre production
Honolulu's Diamond Head Theatre production


Imperial Theatre








1991, 2001 - Sylvia Stoddard