CHICAGO Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre
Opened January 28, 1990. Closed April/May 1990 (limited run)
Kary M. Walker, Producer
Dyanne K. Earley, Artistic Director
Peter R. Grigsby, Director of Marketing
present

CHESS

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

Broadway Production Presented by
The Shubert Organization, 3 Knights Ltd, Robert Fox, Ltd
Directed by Trevor Nunn

Cast

FLORENCE VASSY....................Susie McMonagle
ANATOLY SERGIEVSKY............David Studwell
FREDDIE TRUMPER..................Kim Strauss
WALTER......................................Dale Morgan
IVAN MOLOKOV.........................Neil Friedman
SVETLANA SERGIEVSKY...........Susan Moniz
ARBITER....................................Alton F. White
Russian "King".........................Harrison McEldowney
American "King".........................Rob Rahn
Gregor Vassy..............................Larry Russo
Florence Vassy (as a child).............Erin Stites
American "Queen".......................Lori Longstreth
Nicolai.........................................Randal Keith
Joe...............................................Russell Reneau
Harold...........................................Rob Rahn
The Company: Randal Keith, Larry Russo, Robert Winn Austin, James Braet, Patti Davidson-Gorbea, Douglas Graham, Lori Longstreth, Catherine Lord, Harrison McEldowney, Rob Rain, Russell Reneau, Karyn Young-Lowe

Directed and Choreographed by David H. Bell
Set Design by Thomas M. Ryan, U.S.A.A.
Costume Design by Nancy Missimi, U.S.A.A.
Lighting Design by Diane Ferry Williams
Properties by Kathy Klaisner
Sound Design by Randy Allen Johns
Orchestral Reducation by David Siegel
Synthesizer/MIDI Design and Programming by Brett Alan Sommer
Assistant Director Dyanne Earley


Synopsis

ACT ONE
Essentially following the New York scene and song order, the show opens in 1956 Budapest, Gregor Vassy teaching his tiny daughter to play chess ("The Story of Chess"). The other refugees hiding with them join Gregor as he sings her to sleep ("Apukad"). When the guns start, he makes two chess pieces into amulets and vows to his daughter they will find each other again. Freddie is introduced at the Bangkok press conference and it's clear he's a good guy, but very, very tough ("What a Scene! What a Joy!/"Smile, You Got Your First Exclusive Story"). In a dual scene--cinematically intercutting between Anatoly's suite ("Where I Want to Be") and Florence and Freddie's ("How Many Women")--it's clear there's trouble in both camps. The "Arbiter's Song" is combined with a verse of "U.S. vs. U.S.S.R." to lay down the rules and play begins. The "Quartet" draws the battle lines and introduces the living chess pieces who form around the four, symbolically reminding them they're there to play chess. Florence tries to force Freddie to behave ("You Want to Lose Your Only Friend"), but he runs out. "One Night in Bangkok" is his simplistic way of ignoring his problems. Florence meets Anatoly at the restaurant, and her initial nerves give way to a strong attraction to the Soviet player ("Terrance Duet"/"Who'd Ever Think"), intercut with the American Queen and Russian King joined in a pas de deux. The match progresses ("So You Got What You Want"/"Nobody's Side") but Florence and Freddie do not. Anatoly's defection in the parking garage leads into "Anthem."

ACT TWO
The second act opens in a Budapest church as Florence seeks her roots and her state of mind ("Heaven Help My Heart"). The dual bedrooms serve again for "You and I" with Florence and Anatoly's refrain segueing smoothly into the more bittersweet version for him and Svetlana. Molokov's pressure on Anatoly is more restrained than in New York, allowing Anatoly to seem stronger, and his acceptance of the situation more realistic. However, Molokov and Walter are up to their old tricks in "Let's Work Together." Florence and Svetlana express regret in "I Know Him So Well," while Freddie wonders what will happen to him in "Pity the Child." "Endgame" begins with the two chess queens crowning and robing the kings as the chorus intones the anthem of chess champions' names. Anatoly's decision to lose seems well-thought out and a strength rather than a weakness. Freddie is completely aware that he's being allowed to win and the hollowness of this victory is very moving. At the airport, Anatoly wrenches himself from Florence's arms ("You and I"). After Walter tells Florence they're really exchanging Anatoly for an American spy and not her father, she collapses but then a friend of Anatoly's comes in with a package. He says Anatoly thought there was dirty work going on and took action of his own. She opens the parcel to find the companion amulet to hers. The friend brings in her father, saying "Anatoly believes the players should always be more important than the game." The chorus hums "Apukad," as Florence and her father embrace, then segue into the last verse of "Anthem."


Commentary


Other productions based on the Chicago version:
Sacramento Music Circus

Long Beach Civic Light Opera
Boulder Dinner Theatre










1991, 2001 - Sylvia Stoddard