The souvenirs for the Broadway premiere were extremely limited--rare for a Dewynters mechandising effort. There were NO t-shirts, sweatshirts or mugs at all. In fact, the only items for sale in the lobby were the Souvenir Brochure, the Concept Album, and inexpensive round buttons (the Original Broadway Cast Album was not available until after the show closed). The opening night gifts to the cast were white terrycloth robes with the logo embroidered on them. The was an additional ancillary souvenir t-shirt which was available at a Swedish festival which took place shortly before the show's opening.

Pinback Button Round, approximately
2-1/4 inches

The Souvenir Brochure has 22 pages of color photos from the show. There was also the standard free Playbill.

Souvenir Brochure 9" x 12" $10

There were two Lobby Cards for the show. The logo version was the advance, the "Yes! Chess" card was issued about 6 weeks after opening night. Neither was sold at the theatre, but were available at Triton Gallery.

Lobby Cards 14-1/2" x 22" $15

The black tie opening night party was held in the main lobby of the United Nations Building at 46th St. and First Ave. The decorations were appropriately multi-national, with black and white cardboard squares scattered on the tables. At each place setting was a rectangular pinback badge.

Invitation 4-3/4" x 6-1/2" Badge 1-3/4" x 2-3/4"

Among promotional efforts were TV and newspaper ads, billboads and buses.

There was an advance flyer at ticket brokers and the theatre.

Flyer 9" x 4"

Since the cast album had not yet been released while Tony Award voters were considering shows for nominations and awards, a special 5-song cassette was recorded and sent out in early May, 1988. Producer of the cast recording Peter Elliott remembers Tyler Gatchell (one of the producers) helped bring everything together so the principals could record five songs for the Tony voters. The session took place on Sunday, April 17. Here, he recalls the session:

"The recording session for April 17th was for orchestra and the majority of the cast, i.e., the chorus. At those sessions, the orchestra tracks were laid down for the entire album (and a separate orchestra session was scheduled in May), and the main choral numbers including some that were eventually cut from the show -were recorded - those included : Chess Hymn, Endgame, without Philip or David, One Night in Bangkok - without Philip, Nobody's Side - without Judy, Hungarian Folk Song, etc. Neil Ben-Ari also recorded The Story of Chess on that night and I believe that there may have been another number recorded. It was a full day.

The May recording sessions were devoted to the principals and they worked with the pre-recorded tracks. The cast album was supposed to be finished right after the show opened in April, but Björn Ulvaeus suffered a mild heart attack/anixety attack right after opening night and his health postponed the sessions. The vocals for the Tony sessions represented on this tape were recorded separately - union rules would allow the actors to record this for the Tony Awards without payment. Benny & Björn were thrilled with the performances on the tape and wanted to use them on the cast recording, but as Tim Rice remembers, 'we had Equity breathing down our backs, I couldn't allow them to do that.' At the end of the day - and in all truthfulness - the recorded tracks are those originally laid down for the cast album (but were also most likely modified in the final cast album mix) - but the vocals on the tape are performances recorded by the principals prior to the May sessions and were done exclusively for this tape. The tracks are completely different from the original cast album and were recorded at a different time. The songs included are 'Someone Else's Story,' 'Anthem,' 'Pity the Child,' I Know Him So Well' and 'You and I'"

Tony Voters' Tape

As the Original Cast Recording was released, a promo version on LP and cassette was sent out to radio stations. The LP contained the following tracks from the full recording: "I Know Him So Well" and "Nobody's Side." The cassette was more complete and contained: "Someone Else's Story," "One Night in Bangkok," "Nobody's Side," "Anthem," "I Know Him So Well," "Pity the Child," and "You And I (reprise)."

Promo Sampler RCA LP #7972-I-RDAB
RCA Cassette #7973-4-RDDJ

RCA LP #7700-1-RC
RCA Cassette
RCA CD #7700-2-RC

On January 9, 1989, David Carroll organized a reunion of the entire Broadway cast for a benefit concert of just the show's songs only at Carnegie Hall. No recording was made of the performance. There were posters which were supposed to be sold in the lobby after the concert but they were misplaced and over 400 people waiting in the lobby were disappointed. The missing posters never were found and the only ones that are known to exist are the ones given to the participants.

14-1/2" X 22"

5" x 7" $200, $250

© 1998, 2000 Sylvia Stoddard